Quick Reference

; order Diptera, suborder Nematocera)

Family of small to minute, gnat-like flies, in which the males have plumose antennae, the head is not concealed by the thorax, and ocelli are absent. The short mouth-parts are of a piercing type. All adults of this family are predatory, sucking blood or eating smaller insects. There are two types of larval habit. One group has aquatic, vermiform larvae, the other has terrestrial larvae which live under bark, or in decaying material. Adults of the genus Culicoides will bite mammals, and can transmit certain blood-borne diseases. They are avid biters at sunset in certain parts of the Holarctic, and in some places are great pests. In the northern parts of the USA and Canada they are known as ‘no-see-ums’ on account of their small size and vicious bite. There are more than 500 described species. Their distribution is mainly Holarctic, but there are representatives throughout the world.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.

Reference entries