Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Chironomidae (Non-Biting Midges)

These are the most abundant and diverse aquatic insects but only about 8,000 have been named and described. In water habitats, these larvae will be the most predominant and are found in most any type of water, from still and stagnant to churning and from warm to icy.

The adults are short-lived; the males have the fuzzy antennae; and both genders are attracted to man-made lights. Along with being a large family, it’s also a diverse one, so generalizations at the family level will have exceptions to the rule. The swarming behavior of the adults seem to be their most unique characteristic and variety and interest is in the young stages of this family.

Swarms of midges are commonplace but each swarm is unique. A swarm is usually made up of the males of one species and these swarms will hover over a unique physical marker. Each species has their own preference for a marker and their own preferred height for hovering. The purpose of this behavior is for mating. The females fly in, hook up, and the couple flies off to mate.

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