Friday, July 8, 2016

A new midge: Metapelopia peruensis

Chironomidae is a large family of flies whose members look much like mosquitoes. However, they do not possess the needle-like mouthparts of mosquitoes, so these midges do not bite (hence the name!). The males are easily recognized by their feathery (plumose) antennae and are often seen in large swarms over a landmark such as a rock or bush. Their larvae are very common in many aquatic environments, where they usually feed on algae or decomposing plant material. The flying adults have a short lifespan in which males often assemble into huge swarms. Females join these swarms to mate, and shortly after the males die. The adults rarely eat as their lifespan is so short they must focus on reproduction. 

The family Chironomidae is very diverse with over 8000 named species so far. As a result they are common in aquatic habitats around the world. The new species was discovered in Peru and named after its country of origin. 

For the experts: A new species of the monotypic genus Metapelopia is described and illustrated based on all life stages. Adults of the Metapelopia peruensis sp. n. can be easily distinguished from those of M. corbii by the color pattern of the legs and abdomen. Larvae and pupae were collected associated with algae accumulated on rocks.

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