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

Midge (Non biting) Family: Chironomidae

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Class:        Insecta
Order:       Diptera
Suborder:   Nematocera
Infraorder: Culicomorpha
Superfamily:       Chironomoidea
Family:      Chironomidae (Non biting midges)
Common names: Non biting midges, Lake flies, Non-biting Midges, Blind Mosquitoes, Common Midges

This is a large taxon of insects; some estimates of the species numbers suggest well over 10000 world-wide. They are notoriously difficult to identify. 
Non biting midge are small, delicate flies that look like mosquitoes. They often "dance" in the air in large swarms over water or lawns. At rest, characteristically hold their front legs above head-height and extended forward, giving the illusion of elongate antennae to the untrained eye.  The males have plumose (feathery) antennae.
Their habit is damp areas, or near bodies of water. 
Adults are short-lived and do not need to feed though many will take honeydew.
Larval stages of Chironomidae can be found in almost any aquatic or semiaquatic habitat, including treeholes, bromeliads, rotting vegetation, soil, and in sewage and artificial containers. They form an important fraction of the macro zoobenthos of most freshwater ecosystems. They vary in colour, the red larva are called bloodworms. In water their ability to capture oxygen is further increased by their making undulating movements.
Chironomidae larvae and pupae are important food items for fish, such as trout. 

A photo of a males with a plumose (feathery) antennae.

Photo of a female midge It has not got feathery antennae of the male.

Another species

Photographed at Hans Bay, Lake Kaniere,West Coast.