T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Midge (Chironomus zealandicus)

Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Arthropoda 
Subphylum: Hexapoda 
Class: Insecta 
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera 
Superorder: Endopterygota 
Order: Diptera 
Suborder: Nematocera 
Infraorder: Culicomorpha 
Superfamily: Chironomoidea 
Family: Chironomidae
Scientific name: Chironomus 
Species: Chironomus zealandicus
Common name: Common midge, Lake flies.

Chironomus zealandicus is a two-winged non-biting midge. These humpback flies look like mosquitos and are common inhabitants of almost all freshwater environments throughout the world.
The males have feathery antennae (see top photo) and some species have hairy feet so they can walk on water. The adult flies which form large swarms can reach nuisance proportions and in some circumstances, these midges form an important component of the biodiversity and ecological processes of aquatic ecosystems. 
The life cycle is comprised of an egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adults rarely live for more than a day and do not feed, relying instead on the energy resources accumulated during the growth and feeding stages of the larva. Chironomid larvae are long red maggot worms (bloodworms). These worms contain a mycoglobin (Mycoglobin is an iron and oxygen-binding protein) which helps them live in stagnant water.

The photos below are of a male which is easily recognized by their plumose (feathery) antennae.