Biting midgks

I lie common name of these pests comes from their habit of biting vertebrates or other insects. Slender or stocky, with short strong legs, these flies are dull gray or brown, usually with dark wing mottling. The head is very rounded, and the males feathery antennae are sensitive to the female's wingbeats.

• i jit CYCLE Males and females mate while flying in a swarm. Kggs arc laid in groups or strings in wet soil, rotting matter, bogs, and water. Adults do not fly very far from the boggy larval breeding areas and suck blood from a wide range of vertebrates. Some species suck body fluids from larger insects, while others catch and eat very small insects or cat a variety of other matter.

• Occi RRKNCE Worldwide, but mainly in the Northern Hemisphere. Common by margins of ponds, rivers, and lakes, in bogs, and near seashores.

• REMARK The bites of these insects can produce severe irritation, making working outside almost impossible in some regions. In warmer areas, some biting midges transmit worm parasites to humans and some carry animal diseases such as African horse sickness and Bluetongue. These midges are also, however, important crop pollinators.

small head in relation to thorax

I ,ARVAE arc wormlike, with a distinct head. They may have hairs on the body.

indistinct vein patterns, especially at end of wings

Cl nCOlDES IM/'l JNCTATl S is notorious around Scottish lochs, streams, and boggy areas. The female's bite is extremely itchy and painful.

Larval feeding habits ^ ^ A

in this specimen, wings are twisted only edge is seen delicate, with long, slender legs, and arc pale brown or slightly green in color. 'They look like mosquitoes but lack functional mouthparts.

• IJEE CYCLE Most of the two- to three-year life cycle is lived as larvae; adults live no longer than a couple of weeks. Mating occurs on the wing in a mating swarm, and eggs are laid in a mass of sticky jelly on water or plants. The larvae eat decayed organic matter, algae, and tiny plants or aquatic animals, but some are predacious or burrow into aquatic plants.

• OCCI JRRENCE Worldwide. Widespread in many habitats and often seen in swarms at dusk near ponds, lakes, and streams.

• REMARK The larvae form a vital part of aquatic food webs. Some have hemoglobin in their bodies, which helps them to live in stagnant, muddy water.

LARVAE are elongate and often have a pair of prolegs on the prothorax and the last abdominal segment.


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