Mystery: Male Non-Biting Midge, but what species???

ID request
April 23, 2010
This pic was taken in a wetlands area in Odenton, MD on 4/222/10 around 7:30pm. If you can identify it, please let me know what it is. Thanks!
Odenton MD

Male Non-Biting Midge

Dear Wondering999,
We believe this is a Mosquito, but we are uncertain of the species.  The feathery antennae indicate that it is a male, and only female Mosquitoes bite and suck blood.  Male Mosquitoes feed on nectar.  Perhaps one of our readers will know the species and write in with further information.

Correction thanks to Karl
April 27, 2010
Hi Daniel and Wondering999:
It’s definitely a male, but it looks like a Non-Biting Midge (Chironomidae). They are closely related but adult non-biting midges are distinguished from mosquitoes (Culicidae) by the way the head is tucked under, the lack of scales on the wings, and the lack of elongated mouthparts (compare a male non-bighting midge to a male mosquito). Your question is “but what species???”. Although I am not prepared to go that far out on a limb, I believe it belongs to the subfamily Chironominae and tribe Chironomini, perhaps genus Chironomus. However, the Chironomids are a very difficult group and identifications really require some serious expertise. Non-biting midges are often mistaken for mosquitoes, which can sometimes be alarming because they tend to congregate in dense cloud-like mating swarms that can generate an impressive buzz. The swarms are often focused around the tops of trees or other prominent features on warm spring and summer evenings. They occur in vast numbers in most non-arid environments, in the water as larvae and in the air as adults, and they are a critical component of aquatic and terrestrial food webs. As the name suggests, they do not bite. Regards.

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