Monday, February 18, 2013

Midges From The Sand-Spring

Meet a midge from the sand-spring!
Female chironomid midge from a sand-spring 
My boiling-sand spring contains innumerable sand tubes from the larvae of chironomid midges.
tubes of chironomid midge larvae in a sand-spring
These chironomid midge larvae live in retreats, or tubes, they construct from sand and other particles.
Chironomid midge larva building sand tube
I'll post more details about the midges and their larvae in my next post.
   Here is a photo of a midge pupa that is ready to hatch.  It wiggled, or whipped, in a manner similar to a mosquito larva, in order to maneuver through the water and rise to the surface.
Chironomid midge pupa about to hatch
 Notice how the legs each have their own sheath and how they are neatly looped under the wings.
Chironomid midge pupa ready to hatch
Shortly after surfacing, a small miracle happens...  the midge somehow hits the "eject button" and emerges from its pupal case and from the water-world without becoming caught in the surface film.
amazing moment of a midge hatch
 Only seconds earlier this midge was an aquatic insect from a sand-tube on the spring-stream bottom.  The emergent adult midge can fly away almost immediately.
  The pupal skin is still trailing this freshly emerged female chironomid midge.
freshly emerged midge with pupal skin

   Here is a photo of a male midge and his feathery antennae.  Note the typical chironomid midge stance of raised forelegs.  Oh, and I have the midge on my index finger to give an indication of its small size.
male chironomid midge from sand-spring
Wouldn't you agree that these chironomid midges and their tube-dwelling larvae are worthy of another Nature Post? 

1 comment:

  1. Most worthy of another post.

    love the feathery antennae.

    Your photos are a wonder Dana.