non-biting midge

(Axarus festivus)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

non-biting midge (Axarus festivus)

 

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

 

Habitat

Meadows and woods near a lake or slow-moving river

Size

Wing Length: 3 16 to ¼

Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

Axarus festivus is a relatively large, soft-bodied, non-biting midge. It looks similar to, and is often mistaken for, a mosquito. It is common in Eastern North America. It is found in meadows and woods near a lake, pond, or slow-moving river.

The head is small. There are two large compound and no simple eyes (ocelli). The antennae have eleven segments. On the male they are long and feathery with long hairs. On the female they are shorter and have a few long hairs but do not appear feathery. The mouthparts are short.

The thorax is pale green with two broad, brown, elongated oval, lateral patches, and an elongated rectangular brown patch in the middle at the front (anterior) margin. On the female there is a narrow black stripe through the median brown patch.

The abdomen is pale green, long, and cylindrical, and tapers to the tip. On the male there is a narrow black band above at the end of each abdominal segment.

The wings are long, narrow, and clear, and are held over the body when at rest. They do not have scales over the veins. The costal vein, the vein that forms the leading edge of the wing, has a thickened area from the base to near the wing tip. The media vein, a longitudinal vein near the middle in the wing, is not branched.

The legs are long, slender, and mostly pale brown. The third segment (femur) is often green. The fourth segment (tibia) on the front legs is dark brown at the tip and often mostly dark brown. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments. The tarsi on the front leg are lengthened.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Decomposing plant matter

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

The female lays eggs by piercing the surface of the water. When the eggs hatch the larvae wriggle to the bottom. The pupa float to the surface and adults emerge above the water surface.

 
Behavior

Larvae are aquatic. They feed in the silt at the bottom of a pond, lake, or slow moving river.

Adult midges do not bite. They often form large swarms near a lake or pond

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)

 

Suborder:

Nematocera (long-horned flies)

 

Infraorder:

Culicomorpha (mosquitoes and midges)

 

Superfamily:

Chironomoidea

 

Family:

Chironomidae (non-biting midges)

 

Subfamily:

Chironominae

 

Tribe:

Chironomini

 

Genus:

Axarus

 

No taxon:

Axarus festivus species group

 
Synonyms

Chironomus lasiomerus

Chironomus lineatus

Chironomus lineola

 
Common
Names

No species in this genus has a common name, nor does the genus itself. The common name for the family is non-biting midges, and is applied here for convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  non-biting midge (Axarus festivus)   non-biting midge (Axarus festivus)
       
  non-biting midge (Axarus festivus)   non-biting midge (Axarus festivus)
       
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Alfredo Colon
6/11/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

non-biting midge (Axarus festivus)


     
     
 
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Created: 12/25/2018

Last Updated:

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