Dark Green Midge

2015 February 28

This midge from the porch light on June 29, 2014 is similar to one posted earlier, except that it is a darker shade of green, and its eyes are smaller and not so red.

It’s pretty clearly one of the Chironomid midges, and given the small, non-poofy antennae I expect that it is a female.

When I posted it on BugGuide, John F. Carr moved it to the Chironomini tribe, which includes “the largest and most commonly observed midges”, so it is no surprise that I found one.

There are a lot of species of similar midges that have been reported in Michigan, and it could be any number of slightly different things. These all have aquatic larvae, and the Chironomid midge larvae in particular are often referred to as “bloodworms”, because a lot of species actually have an analogue to hemoglobin in their body fluids to help in extracting oxygen from water.

Incidentally, I think that the diversity of aquatic insects in Michigan is unusually high due to the large amount of open water in and around the state[1]. And, since being aquatic is a very good way to avoid freezing to death in the winter, the aquatic insects are much better suited to surviving our winters than the more terrestrial species.

[1] According to the Michigan’s State Facts page, no point in Michigan is more than six miles from a lake or stream that can support aquatic insects (and, probably, is big enough to float a canoe). And, at least around Houghton, the maximum distance to a place wet enough to grow cat-tails (our most prominent wetland plant) looks to be more like a few hundred yards.

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