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Midges (Chironomus spp.)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Midges, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 1/10/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

Picture of Midges
Picture of Midges Picture of Midges

Midges in the Chironomidae family do not bite like the pesky mosquitoes they resemble. That doesn't mean they don't sometimes ruin outdoor fun.

Midges are often mistaken for mosquitoes thanks to similar size and body shape. Because they do not take blood meals, they are also known as Blind Mosquitoes. Male Midges tend to have feathery antennae, something not seen on mosquitoes. Also, midges rest with their two front legs hovering above the surface, whereas mosquitoes lift their hind legs.

Midges can be found along the coast, shores and beds of any body of water. Lakes and ponds will often see huge congregations of them. Thanks to poor flying ability, they are often at the mercy of wind currents and can be blown into backyards. For this reason, they may be considered a nuisance to homeowners. They may take shelter under soffits, eaves, or covered patios. They do seem to be attracted to artificial lights at night and many homes are also lit in those places. This in turn may attract predators of Midges like spiders to those areas. Adults have very short life spans (only a few days) so their presence is not permanent.

Eggs are laid in shallow waters. Worm-like larvae hatch and serve two good roles in the ecosystem: as a cleaner (consumer) of decaying organic matter in the water and as a food source to other aquatic insects and even fish. Adults do not feed and spend their short lives mating.

Picture of the Midges
Picture of the Midges

Midges Information

Category: Fly or Mosquito
Common Name: Midges
Scientific Name: Chironomus spp.
Other Name(s): Blind Mosquitoes, Fuzzy Bills

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Diptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Chironomidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Chironomus
       Arrow graphic Species: spp.

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length):
Identifying Colors: yellow, brown, black, white, gray
Additional Descriptors: mosquito, feathery, long, slow, small

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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