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A biting midge feeding on blood through an artificial membrane for insect rearing
Scientific classification

A midge is any small fly, including species in several families of non- mosquito Nematoceran Diptera. Midges are found (seasonally or otherwise) on practically every land area outside permanently arid deserts and the frigid zones. Some midges, such as many Phlebotominae (sand fly) and Simuliidae (black fly), are vectors of various diseases. Many others play useful roles as prey items for insectivores, such as various frogs and swallows. Others are important as detritivores, and form part of various nutrient cycles. The habits of midges vary greatly from species to species, though within any particular family, midges commonly have similar ecological roles.

Examples of families that include species of midges include: [1]


The Ceratopogonidae (biting midges) include serious blood-sucking pests, feeding both on humans and other mammals. Some of them spread the livestock diseases blue tongue and African horse sickness – other species though, are at least partly nectar feeders, and some even suck insect bodily fluids. [6]

A midge in the family Ceratopogonidae sitting on the dexter (right-hand-side) femorotibial joint of a feeding mantis and sucking its blood

Most other midge families are bloodsuckers, but it is not possible to generalise rigidly because of the vagueness of the term "midge". There is, for example, no objective basis for excluding the Psychodidae from the list, and some of them (or midge-like taxa commonly included in the family, such as Phlebotomus) are blood-sucking pests and disease vectors.

Most midges, apart from the gall midges ( Cecidomyiidae), are aquatic during the larval stage. Some Cecidomyiidae (e.g., the sorghum midge) are significant plant pests. The larvae of some Chironomidae contain haemoglobin and are sometimes referred to as bloodworms. [7]

Non-biting midge flies are a common minor nuisance around artificially-created bodies of water. [8]

One type of midge (a type of fly in the family Dipteran) is a major pollinator of Theobroma cacao (cocoa tree) because of its unique morphological and behavioral characteristics. Having natural pollinators has beneficial effects in both agricultural and biological products because it increases Theobroma cacao crop yield and also density of predators of the midges (still beneficial to all parties). [9]

Some species survived the glacial cycles by shifting their range to Mediterranean refuges, while others endured in central European habitats.

It was detect that genetic structure within and among five European mountain ranges in the net‐winged midge Liponeura cinerascens cinerascens.

Endemic haplotypes, microsatellite population genetic structure and high levels of regionally private alleles provide evidence that mountain range populations have been evolving independently from each other for a significant number of generations.

Liponeura cinerascens cinerascens is able to maintain gene flow between watercourses in highly structured mountain ranges. Lowland regions, however, pose significant dispersal barriers, possibly because high‐gradient stretches with boulders are rare in such landscapes

See also


  1. ^ Merritt, R. W.; Cummins, K. W., eds. (1996). An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
  2. ^ "BITING MIDGES OR "SANDFLIES" IN THE NT" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
  3. ^ "Bug invasion! Muckleheads caught on radar swarming back to NE Ohio". fox8.com. 2018-06-04. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  4. ^ "What exactly are all these pesky midges? Entertaining video on the insects that swarm Lake Erie". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  5. ^ "Why you should never smash lake flies and other facts about the annual Lake Winnebago insect hatch". Appleton Post Crescent. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  6. ^ Weaving, Alan; Picker, Mike; Griffiths, Charles Llewellyn (2003). Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. New Holland Publishers, Ltd. ISBN  1-86872-713-0.
  7. ^ Walker, Ian R. (2001). "Midges: Chironomidae and related Diptera". In Smol, J. P.; Birks, H. J. B.; Last, W. M. (eds.). Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments. Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research. 4: Zoological Indicators. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 43–66. doi: 10.1007/0-306-47671-1_3. ISBN  978-0-306-47671-6.
  8. ^ Apperson, Charles; Waldvogel, Michael; Bambara, Stephen (2006). "Biology and Control of Non-biting Aquatic Midges". Department of Entomology, North Carolina Cooperative Extension.
  9. ^ Forbes, Samantha J.; Northfield, Tobin D. (2016-12-26). "Increased pollinator habitat enhances cacao fruit set and predator conservation". Ecological Applications. Ecological Society of America. 27 (3): 887–899. doi: 10.1002/eap.1491. ISSN  1051-0761. PMID  28019052.

Further reading

Schröder, Oskar; Cavanaugh, Kirstin K.; Schneider, Julio V.; Schell, Tilman; Bonada, Núria; Seifert, Linda; Pauls, Steffen U. (2021). "Genetic data support local persistence in multiple glacial refugia in the montane net‐winged midge Liponeura cinerascens cinerascens (Diptera, blephariceridae)". Freshwater Biology. 66 (5): 859–868. doi: 10.1111/fwb.13682.

Huerta, Heron; Grogan, William L. JR (2021). "A new species of predaceous midge in the genus Stilobezzia Kieffer from Mexico (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae)". Zootaxa. 4908 (2): 297–300. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4908.2.11. PMID  33756629.

Pinto, Thandy Junio da Silva; Moreira, Raquel Aparecida; Silva, Laís Conceição Menezes da; Yoshii, Maria Paula Cardoso; Goulart, Bianca Veloso; Fraga, Priscille Dreux; Montagner, Cassiana Carolina; Daam, Michiel Adriaan; Espindola, Evaldo Luiz Gaeta (2021). "Impact of 2,4-D and fipronil on the tropical midge Chironomus sancticaroli (Diptera: Chironomidae)". Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 209: 111778. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111778. PMID  33338803.