Random Insect: Another common midge

Common midge (Axarus sp., Chironomidae) photographed 06/16/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

In late April I wrote about a few common midges (Diptera:  Chironomidae) that I found here in southeast Michigan.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed different midges in the genus Axarus.  All of the midges in these photos are probably females, since males usually have much bristlier antennae (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).

Common midge (Axarus sp., Chironomidae) photographed 06/14/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

In mid-June I found a number of these insects in a wooded area just above the River Raisin near Blissfield.  One of the individuals was missing part of its left front leg, lost to some injury:

Common midge (Axarus sp., Chironomidae) photographed 06/14/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

The long front legs are a common feature in this family, and these flies usually sit with their front legs up in the air (even if part of one is missing):

Common midge (Axarus sp., Chironomidae) photographed 06/14/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

Just the other day I noticed more of these midges swarming around my porch light near Palmyra, about ten miles up the river from the others.  The definitely seem to be common along this stretch of river.

Common midge (Axarus sp., Chironomidae) photographed 06/25/2011 near Palmyra Michigan.

Apparently the aquatic larvae live along the muddy bottoms of slow-moving rivers, and this section of the River Raisin that flows through both Blissfield and Palmyra definitely fits that description.  Like many insects with aquatic young, the adults don’t often stray far from their homes.

Literature cited:

Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson.  2005.  Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects.  Seventh Edition.  Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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