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DIPTERA, Ceratopogonidae -- <Images> & <Juveniles>


Please refer to the following link for further details:


Ceratopogonidae: Link 1


Description & Statistics


Adults are the common biting midges, no-see-ums, midgies, sand flies, punkies, which feed on warm-blooded animals and humans. They pare parasitic on other insects in the zoological sense rather in the parasitoidal sense. They feed on body fluids of the host insect but do not cause its death. Several species of Forcipomyia and Lasiohelea have been observed on the wings of Tipulidae, and Phasmidohelea spp. from the bodies of Phasmidae. Pterobosca sp. and Forcipomyia sp. have been found to feed at the wings of dragonflies. A few species of the latter are known to attack caterpillars. As many as 9 adults of Atrichopogon melosugans Kieff. were observed feeding through the intersegmental membranes of adult Meloe sp. beetles in England and Algeria (Blair 1937). They are believed to feed mainly on the newly hatched larvae of Culicidae, Trichoptera and Chironomidae.


This is a family of small flies (14 mm long) in the order Diptera. They are closely related to the Chironomidae, Simuliidae (or black flies), and Thaumaleidae.


Ceratopogonids are found in almost any aquatic or semiaquatic habitat throughout the world. Females of most species are adapted to suck blood from some kind of host animal. Culicoides, Forcipomyia (Lasiohelea), and Leptoconops suck vertebrate blood. Some Atrichopogon and Forcipomyia are ectoparasites on larger insects. Dasyhelea feed exclusively on nectar. Species in other genera are predatory on other small insects. Larvae are always found in some damp location, such as under bark, in rotten wood, compost, mud, stream margins, tree holes, or water-holding plants (i.e., phytotelmata).


Many of the hematophagic (blood-eating) species are pests in beach or mountain habitats. Some other species are important pollinators of tropical crops such as cacao. The blood-sucking species may be vectors of disease-causing viruses, protozoa, and filarial worms. The bite of midges in the genus Culicoides causes an allergic response in equines known as sweet itch. In humans, their bite can cause intensely itchy, red welts that can persist for more than a week. The discomfort arises from a localized allergic reaction to the proteins in their saliva, which can be somewhat alleviated by topical antihistamines.


Some members of the family are small enough to pass through the apertures in typical window screens. Camping tents are often equipped with extra-fine mesh netting, called no-see-um nets, to keep the pests out.


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References: Please refer to <biology.ref.htm>, [Additional references may be found at: MELVYL Library]


Blanton, F. S. & W. W. Wirth. 1979. The sand flies (Culicoides) of Florida (Ceratopogonidae). Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas Volume 10. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


Borkent, A. & W. W. Wirth. 1997. World species of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 233: 1257.


Clastrier, J. & W. W. Wirth. 1978. The Leptoconops kerteszi complex in North America (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). United States Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin Number 1573.


Downes, J. A. & W. W. Wirth. 1981. Chapter 28: Ceratopogonidae. Pp. 393421. In: McAlpine, J.F., B.V. Peterson, G.E. Shewell, H.J. Teskey, J.R. Vockeroth, and D.M. Wood. Manual of Nearctic Diptera, Volume 1. Agriculture Canada Monograph 27.


Hendry, G. 2003. Midges in Scotland 4th Edition, Mercat Press, Edinburgh.


Mullen, G. R. and L.J. Hribar. 1988. Biology and feeding behavior of ceratopogonid larvae (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in North America. Bulletin of the Society for Vector Ecology 13: 6081.


Wirth, W. W. & F. S. Blanton. 1974. The West Indian sandflies of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). United States Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin Number 1474.


Wirth, W. W. & W. L. Grogan, Jr. 1988. The Predaceous Midges of the World (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae; Tribe Ceratopogonini). Flora and Fauna Handbook Number 4. E.J. Brill Publishers, Leiden. xv + 160 pp.


Wirth, W. W., N. C. Ratanaworabhan, & D.H. Messersmith. 1977. Natural history of Plummers Island, Maryland. XXII. Biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). 1. Introduction and key to genera. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 90(3): 615647.