Midge (Chironomidae)—N.A. Callow/EB Inc.

Any of a group of tiny dipterans, sometimes called gnats and classified as nonbiting (family Chironomidae), biting (family Ceratopogonidae), or gall (family Cecidomyiidae) midges. Nonbiting midges resemble mosquitoes but are harmless. Humming swarms can be found around water in late afternoon. The often blood-red, aquatic larvae (bloodworms) are important food for aquatic animals. Biting midges (no-see-ums) are the smallest bloodsucking insect (about 0.04 in., or 1 mm, long). Punkies or sand flies (genera Culicoides and Leptoconops) attack humans but do not transmit disease; many species attack other insects. Gall-midge larvae cause tissue swellings (galls) in plants.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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