Friday, June 02, 2023

Evening visitor

This teeny-tiny, orange and green midge turned up on my wall in the evening and hung around long enough for me to get a few photos. He didn't like the light when I aimed it at him, by which I gather that he's a night flier.

Non-biting midge, Tanytarsini sp.

He is about 2 millimetres long, or a bit less. I sent his photo in to BugGuide, and they identified him as one of the non-biting midges, of the sub-family Chironominae, and the tribe Tanytarsini. (Those people at BugGuide are amazing; I sent in the photo at midnight, and at 7 in the morning, they'd already moved him into the right place!)

The front legs are about half again as long as the total length of his body.

He. Because I think he's a male; the males have feathered antennae. Look at them in this next photo.

Front end in focus.

Midges are related to the mosquitoes. Some bite, like the noseeums that pester us in the summer. And then there's this whole harmless sub-family; they don't bite, but serve as food for swallows and frogs. And, of course, spiders.

Este mosquito pequeñito, de colores anaranjado y verde, vino a visitar después de la puesta del sol, y se quedó un tiempo para que le sacara unas fotos. No le gustaba mi luz; ha de ser un insecto que vuela de noche.

Aquí es donde el idioma nos falla. En inglés, hay otra palabra distinta para estos bichitos. "El mosquito" es esa plaga que nos pica y nos deja llenos de hinchazones y que trae enfermedades como la fiebre amarilla. Este mosquito pequeño pertenece a una tribu de la misma familia, pero no pican, y les llamamos "midges". Algunos "midges" pican; por aquí hay muchos muy pequeños a los que les hemos dado el nombre de "noseeums", diciendo que no los vemos, pero sí los sentimos; sus picaduras son peores que las de sus primos grandes, los "mosquitos". Pero esta tribu es inofensiva.

Fotos: el "midge", la primera enfocando en las alas y el abdomen, y la segunda, para ver las antenas. Pertenece a la familia Chironomidae y a la tribu Tanytarsini.

Características: Mide aproximadamente 2 milímetros o menos. Las patas anteriores son tan largas como el cuerpo entero y otra mitad. Creo que es un macho porque los machos tienen las antenas emplumadas; las de las hembras son sencillas.

Estos mosquititos sirven de comida a las golondrinas y a los sapos. Y, claro está, a las arañas.

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