Subject: Unknown winged insect
Location: SE Baton Rouge, Louisiana
January 19, 2015 7:50 am
I was refilling my bird feeders when this insect dropped off the remains of a seed block onto my trash container. The critter measured about .75 inch from front feet to tail.
From the looks of those antennae my guess is that he navigates by scent or vibration rather than vision.
Any idea what it is?
Signature: Russ Norwood
This is a male (yes those antennae enable him to locate a female) member of the order Diptera that includes Flies and related insects with two wings. We suspect this is a male Midge or male Gnat and it looks quite similar to this image of Apsectrotanypus johnsoni that we located on BugGuide, however, BugGuide indicates a size of 4mm, which is considerably smaller than the 3/4 inch you have indicated. We will try to determine the species identity of your large male Midge. Of the Lake Midge from further North, BugGuide indicates: “Wing length typically 5.9 mm, occasionally as long as 7.5 mm. Male body length typically 10, occasionally as long as 13 mm. This is the largest member of the family.”
Thanks for the rapid reply as well as for your very interesting response. My estimate of size was rough, so is probably best taken with a grain of salt. I included everything from the tip of the (abdomen?) to the tips of the two extended front legs.
Thanks to your kind response I looked up the species elsewhere. This reference on wikipedia mentions that some may feed on sugars. For what it’s worth, the seeds in the block remnant on which I found him were glued together with sugars.
I’ve made a donation Daniel. Thanks again.
Thanks for your kind donation Russ. We are still awaiting a response from Eric Eaton to see if he recognizes you Midge.
Eric Eaton Responds
It is indeed a male midge, family Chironomidae, and some can get pretty large. There is somebody that has written a book about midges of the southeast, … John Epler. Here’s his web page link: