Sunday, 15 May 2011

Midges

It's that time of year again, when midges appear, along with other insects.  Murray Seymour sends us a report and photos of midges:

If you have been cycling or running or even just walking along close to Lake Ontario in the last little while, you're probably familiar with these little fellas. Quite possibly intimately familiar – nothing like one of these up the nose to get your attention. They are Midges. But say Midge to a taxonomist and you'll probably receive a blank stare. That's not really telling them something useful. The one shown here with the feathery antennae is probably a male of the genus Orthocladius. There are at least 29 species of that genus in North America. The other one could also be of that genus, or it could be a member of Chironomus – 25 species. I'm not sure how many genera of Midges there are, but there are quite a few. Identifying which is what is a task for specialists with microscopes, time and patience. I came across one comment stating that to really identify a certain species it would be necessary to immerse a specimen in a borax solution until all the soft bits were gone and then look for the genitalia.

What is really important to know is that they only swarm in the spring and THEY DO NOT BITE.

Unlike black flies.

But that's a whole other story.

                                                                      Orthocladius
                                                                    

                                                     Chironominae  sub Orthoclodinae

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