Chironomids are the most abundant and species-richest group of aquatic insects1-3,9 (body length: 0.2 - 30 mm), with more than 15000 species worldwide. Their larvae and pupae are found in all aquatic and moist, terrestrial habitats. Larval densities can reach more than 0.5x106 individuals/m2, with higher abundances often deep in the streambed sediments3,4. Larvae feed on bacteria, algae, protozoans, aquatic invertebrates such as benthic rotifers, and particulate organic matter3 while freshwater invertebrates, fish and birds prey upon chironomid larvae5-8. Larval chironomids species9 also serve as bioindicators of organic and heavy-metal contaminations. Identification is often assisted through reared material. Adult chironomids are tiny, delicate and long-legged non-biting midges (mostly < 5 mm).
1. Schmid, P.E. 1993. A key to the larval Chironomidae and their instars.- PART 1: Diamesinae, Prodiamesinae and Orthocladiinae. Wasser & Abwasser 3/93, 514pp.
2. Schmid, P.E., Tokeshi, M. & Schmid-Araya, J.M. 2000. Science 289, 1557. ( see abstract ).
3. Schmid, P.E. & Schmid-Araya, J.M. 1997. Freshwat. Biol. 38, 67. ( see abstract )
4. Schmid, P.E. 1992. Neth. J. Aquat. Ecol. 26, 419. ( see abstract )
5. Schmid-Araya, J.M. et al. 2002a. J. Anim. Ecol. 71, 1056. ( see abstract )
6. Schmid-Araya, J.M. et al. 2002b. Ecology 83, 1271. ( see abstract )
7. Schmid-Araya, J.M.et al. 2012. Austral. Ecol. 37, 440. ( see abstract ).
8. Schmid-Araya, J.M. et al. 2016. Ecology 97, 3099. ( download publication).
9. Schmid, P.E. & Schmid-Araya, J.M. 2019. A key to larval Chironomidae and their instars. Diamesinae, Prodiamesinae and Orthocladiinae.