CERATOPOGONIDAE, or BITING MIDGES , are a family of small flies
(1–4 mm long) in the order Diptera . They are also known as
NO-SEE-UMS, MIDGIES, SAND FLIES , PUNKIES, and others in North America
, and SANDFLIES in Australia. (The name "sandfly" is ambiguous, as it
is also applied informally to many other flies, such as the subfamily
Phlebotominae .) They are closely related to the
Simuliidae (or black flies ), and
Thaumaleidae . Play media
Atrichopogon sp. on Oedemera virescens
They are found in almost any aquatic or semiaquatic habitat
throughout the world, as well as in mountain areas. Females of most
species are adapted to suck blood from some kind of host animal for
the purpose of anautogenous reproduction.
Culicoides , Forcipomyia
(Lasiohelea) , and
Leptoconops suck vertebrate blood . Some
Forcipomyia species are ectoparasites on larger
Dasyhelea species feed exclusively on nectar.
other genera are predatory on other small insects. Larvae are always
found in some damp location, such as under bark , in rotten wood,
compost , mud, stream margins, tree holes , or water-holding plants
(i.e., phytotelmata ). Ceratopogonid male
Biting midge or "punky" on a flower While this Sphodromantis
eats a bee, a ceratopogonid midge, sitting on the joint between the
femur and tibia of the right-hand foreleg, fills its abdomen with the
green mantis blood.
Many of the hematophagic (blood-eating) species are pests in beach or
mountain habitats . Some other species are important pollinators of
tropical crops such as cacao . The blood-sucking species may be
vectors of disease -causing viruses , protozoa , or filarial worms .
The bite of midges in the genus
Culicoides causes an allergic response
in equines known as sweet itch . In humans, their bites can cause
intensely itchy, red welts that can persist for more than a week. The
discomfort arises from a localized allergic reaction to the proteins
in their saliva , which can be somewhat alleviated by topical
The smaller members of the family are tiny enough to pass through the
apertures in typical window screens . Camping tents are often equipped
with extra-fine mesh netting, called no-see-um nets, to keep the pests
out. One experienced researcher recommends: "A mesh size of 4900 (per
square inch) will stop most biting midges, but to ensure that even the
smallest cannot feast on you, a mesh size of 10,000 is necessary."
Species in this family are known to be vectors for various
arboviruses , as well as for nonviral animal pathogens. An example
Tete virus , spread by
Culicoides impunctatus —known as the Scottish midge, or Highland
* ^ Whelan, Peter (September 2003). "Biting Midges or
‘Sandflies’ in the Northern Territory". The Northern Territory
Disease Control Bulletin. 10 (3).
* ^ Boorman, John (1993). "Biting midges (Ceratopogonidae)":
288–309. doi :10.1007/978-94-011-1554-4_7 .
* ^ Wirth, Willis W.; Grogan, William L. (1 January 1988). The
Predaceous Midges of the World. E.J. Brill. p. 208. ISBN 0-916846-43-1
. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
* ^ Borkent, Art. "How to Protect Oneself from Biting Midges". The
Ceratopogonidae of Costa Rica. National Biodiversity Institute of
Costa Rica . Retrieved 17 January 2017.
* ^ Carpenter, Simon; Groschup, Martin H.; Garros, Claire;
Felippe-Bauer, Maria Luiza; Purse, Bethan V. (2013). "Culicoides
biting midges, arboviruses and public health in Europe". Antiviral
Research. 100 (1): 102–113. ISSN 0166-3542 . doi
* ^ Linley, J. R. (1985). "Biting Midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae)
as Vectors of Nonviral
Animal Pathogens". Journal of Medical
Entomology. 22 (6): 589–599. ISSN 0022-2585 . doi
* ^ "Bunyaviridae". ViPR. Virus Pathogen Database and Analysis
Resource Center (ViPR). Retrieved 17 January 2017.
* Blanton, F.S. and W.W. Wirth. 1979. The sand flies (Culicoides) of
Florida (Ceratopogonidae). Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land
Areas Volume 10. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
* Borkent, A. and W.W. Wirth. 1997. World species of biting midges
(Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural
History 233: 1–257.
* Borkent, Art (2014). "World
Species of Biting Midges (Diptera:
Ceratopogonidae)" (PDF). Illinois Natural History Survey. University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
* Clastrier, J. and W.W. Wirth. 1978. The
North America (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). United States
Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin Number 1573.
* Downes, J.A. and W.W. Wirth. 1981. Chapter 28: Ceratopogonidae.
Pp. 393–421. In: McAlpine, J.F., B.V. Peterson, G.E. Shewell, H.J.
Teskey, J.R. Vockeroth, and D.M. Wood. Manual of Nearctic Diptera,
Volume 1. Agriculture Canada Monograph 27.
* Hendry, George. Midges in Scotland 4th Edition, Mercat Press,
Edinburgh, 2003 ISBN 1-84183-062-3
* Mullen, G.R. and L.J. Hribar. 1988. Biology and feeding behavior
of ceratopogonid larvae (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in North America.
Bulletin of the Society for Vector Ecology 13: 60–81.
* Wirth, W.W. and F.S. Blanton. 1974. The West Indian sandflies of
Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). United States
Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin Number 1474.
* Wirth, W.W. and W.L. Grogan, Jr. 1988. The Predaceous Midges of
the World (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae; Tribe Ceratopogonini). Flora and
Fauna Handbook Number 4. E.J. Brill Publishers, Leiden. xv + 160 pp.
* Wirth, W.W., N.C. Ratanaworabhan, and D.H. Messersmith. 1977.
Natural history of Plummers Island, Maryland. XXII. Biting midges
(Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). 1. Introduction and key to genera.
Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 90(3): 615–647.