Nilothauma sp., copyright Chao Song.

Belongs within: Culicomorpha.
Contains: Pentaneurini, Procladiini, Orthocladiini, Tanytarsini, Fushunitendipini, Lacusitendipini, Chironomus, Polypedilum.

The Chironomidae, commonly known as non-biting midges, are a morphologically diverse family of mostly small, delicate, superficially mosquito-like flies. Larvae of chironomids are most commonly aquatic and the adults are also often found around water. Larvae commonly inhabit silk-lined burrows or tube-like silken shelters that may be fixed to the substrate; some Orthocladiinae and Chironominae construct transportable cases (Spies et al. 2009). Some species are marine, being found in the intertidal zone. Adults of most species have reduced mouthparts, but the relict Southern Hemisphere genus Archaeochlus retains biting mandibles (Colless & McAlpine 1991). Many members of the subfamilies Aphroteniinae, Podonominae and Diamesinae are adapted for living in fast-flowing waters (Oliver 1981).

Among the numerous subfamilies, the Chironominae have wings with crossvein bm-cu and vein R2+3 present, fore tarsomere 1 as long as or longer than the fore tibia, and the gonostylus usually rigidly fused to the gonocoxite. The Orthocladiinae have similar venation but fore tarsomere 1 is shorter than the fore tibia, and the gonostylus is flexibly attached to the gonocoxite (Spies et al. 2009).

Characters (from Spies et al. 2009): Adults small to medium-sized, about 1–13 mm long. Ocelli absent; frontal tubercles present or absent. Compound eyes larges, often with dorsomedial extensions but never contiguous. Antennae usually strongly sexually dimorphic; scape a flat ring; pedicel globose (especially enlarged in male); males with 6–15 flagellomeres, females with 4–7 or 10–14; male antennae usually with first and either last or penultimate flagellomere longer than others, flagellum usually densely plumose. Mouthparts not piercing; female mandibles rarely present; proboscis rarely elongate; palpus usually elongate with five (four free) segments. Wing usually narrow, broader in female; wings in resting position held to posterior, either flat or like sloping roof; costa reaching at most to tip of wing; wing margin usually reached by two or three branches of R, one of M and two of Cu. Legs usually elongate with fore legs longest, mid legs shortest; first tarsomeres longer than second; males at rest often hold fore legs aloft like feelers. Postnotum usually with medial longitudinal groove. Abdomen usually much longer than wide, especially slender in males. Larvae elongate, cylindrical (thoracic segments inflated in prepupae); with sclerotised, prognathous, usually non-retractable head capsule, three thoracic and nine abdominal segments, and usually anterior and posterior pair of prolegs bearing spines or claws; antennae various; mouthparts directed anteriorly, with mandibles operating in oblique to horizontal plane, and ventromedially with either transverse, usually toothed plate (hypostoma) or movable, toothed ligula; open spiracles usually absent; terminal segments usually with paired procerci and four anal papillae, sometimes also with short lateral and/or longer ventral tubuli.

<==Chironomidae [Dixamimidae, Protobibionidae, Rhaetomyiidae, Rhaetomyidae, Tendipedidae]
    |--Ulaia [Ulaiinae] BLM02
    |--Usambaromyiinae SA09
    |--Aenne GE05 [Aenneinae BLM02]
    |    `--A. triassica GE05
    |--Buchonomyia [Buchonomyiinae] SA09
    |    |--B. brundini SA09
    |    `--B. thienemanni Z02
    |--Aphroteniinae O81
    |    |--Aphrotenia GE05
    |    `--+--Aphroteniella GE05
    |       `--Paraphrotenia GE05
    |--Telmatogetoninae SA09
    |    |--Thalassomyia bureni SA09, O81
    |    |--Paraclunio alaskensis O81
    |    `--Telmatogeton SA09
    |         |--T. alaskensis SA09
    |         `--T. latipennis SA09
    |--Diamesinae [Prodiamesinae] SA09
    |    |  i. s.: Lobodiamesa campbelli B87
    |    |         Protanypus caudatus O81
    |    |         Boreoheptagyia lurida O81
    |    |         Pseudodiamesa arctica O81
    |    |         Pagastia partica O81
    |    |         Hesperodiamesa sequax O81
    |    |         Potthastia O81
    |    |         Sympotthastia fulva O81
    |    |         Odontomesa lutosopra O81
    |    |         Prodiamesa olivacea O81
    |    |         Monodiamesa O81
    |    |--Diamesa O81 [Diamesae B72]
    |    `--Heptagyini B72
    |         |--Maoridiamesia harrisi B72, B87
    |         |--Paraheptagyia tonnoiri B72
    |         `--Heptagyia tasmaniae CM91
    |--Podonominae SA09
    |    |  i. s.: Oryctochlus vulvanus Kalugina in Kalugina & Kovalev 1985 BLM02, RJ93
    |    |         Protobibio jurassicus O81
    |    |--Boreochlini O81
    |    |    |--+--Lasiodiamesa brusti GE05, O81
    |    |    |  `--Trichotanypus posticalis GE05, O81
    |    |    `--+--+--Boreochlus GE05
    |    |       |  `--Paraboreochlus GE05
    |    |       `--+--Archaeochlus GE05
    |    |          `--Afrochlus GE05
    |    `--Podonomini O81
    |         |--+--Podochlus GE05
    |         |  `--+--Rheochlus GE05
    |         |     `--Podonomopsis GE05
    |         `--+--Zelandochlus GE05
    |            `--+--Podonomus GE05
    |               `--Parochlus GE05
    |                    |--P. araucanus SA09
    |                    `--P. kiefferi SA09
    |--Tanypodinae SA09
    |    |--Pentaneurini SA09
    |    |--Natarsia O81 [Natarsiini SA09]
    |    |--Procladiini SA09
    |    |--Tanypus SA09 [incl. Pelopia (nom. rej.) O81; Tanypodini SA09]
    |    |    |--T. grodhausi Sublette 1964 SA09
    |    |    |--T. neopunctipennis Sublette 1964 SA09
    |    |    `--T. varius [=Chironomus (Tanypus) varius] G20
    |    |--Coelotanypodini SA09
    |    |    |--Clinotanypus SA09
    |    |    |--Coelotanypus SA09
    |    |    `--Naelotanypus viridis SA09
    |    `--Macropelopiini SA09
    |         |--Parapelopia serta O81
    |         |--Alotanypus venustus SA09
    |         |--Derotanypus sibirica O81, R86
    |         |--Psectrotanypus dyari O81
    |         |--Fittkauimyia SA09
    |         |--Guassutanypus SA09
    |         `--Macropelopia SA09
    |              |--M. decedens O81
    |              `--M. roblesi Vargas 1946 SA09
    |--Orthocladiinae [Clunioninae, Hydrobaeninae] SA09
    |    |  i. s.: Naonella Boothroyd 1994 B04
    |    |           |--N. forsythi B04
    |    |           `--N. kimihia Boothroyd 2004 B04
    |    |         Cricotopus SA09
    |    |           |--C. cingulatus B87
    |    |           |--C. laricomalis SA09
    |    |           |--C. trifasciatus R86
    |    |           `--C. zealandicus B87
    |    |         Heleniella O81
    |    |           |--H. curtistila O81
    |    |           `--H. ornaticollis G09
    |    |         Paratrichocladius skirwithensis SA09, G09
    |    |         Oreadomyia albertae O81
    |    |         Hydrobaenus O81
    |    |           |--H. johannseni O81
    |    |           |--H. lugubris O81
    |    |           `--H. spinnatis O81
    |    |         Thalassosmittia O81
    |    |         Clunio SA09
    |    |           |--C. adriaticus R13
    |    |           |--C. marinus WP99
    |    |           |--C. marshalli O81
    |    |           `--C. takahashii RD77
    |    |         Eretmoptera O81
    |    |           |--E. browni O81
    |    |           `--E. murphyi P94
    |    |         Tethymyia aptena O81
    |    |         Corynoneura SA09
    |    |           |--C. celeripes RD77
    |    |           |--C. ferelobata SA09
    |    |           `--C. hirvenojai SA09
    |    |         Thienemanniella SA09
    |    |         Symbiocladius equitans SA09, O81
    |    |         Acricotopus nitidellus O81
    |    |         Diplocladius cultriger SA09
    |    |         Smittia SA09
    |    |           |--S. foliacea R86
    |    |           |--S. verna M83
    |    |           `--S. vetus P92
    |    |         Mesocricotopus thienemanni O81
    |    |         Nanocladius (Plectopteracoluthus) SA09
    |    |           |--N. (P.) bubrachiatus SA09
    |    |           `--‘Plecopteracoluthus’ downsi O81
    |    |         Paracricotopus O81
    |    |         Paracladius O81
    |    |         Halocladius variabilis O81
    |    |         Eurycnemus annuliventris O81
    |    |         Paraphaenocladius SA09
    |    |           |--P. exagitans SA09
    |    |           |    |--P. e. exagitans SA09
    |    |           |    `--P. e. longipes SA09
    |    |           `--P. pseudirritus R86
    |    |         Heterotrissocladius O81
    |    |         Pseudorthocladius O81
    |    |           |--P. dumicaudus O81
    |    |           `--P. filiformis R86
    |    |         Heterotanytarsus O81
    |    |         Gymnometriocnemus O81
    |    |         Cardiocladius obscurus SA09
    |    |         Abiskomyia virgo O81
    |    |         Psectrocladius simulans O81
    |    |         Limnophyes SA09
    |    |           |--L. borealis O81
    |    |           |--L. brachytomus SA09
    |    |           `--L. guatemalensis SA09
    |    |         Parachaetocladius O81
    |    |         Synorthocladius semivirens SA09, O81
    |    |         Tokunagaia O81
    |    |         Clinocladius subparallelus O81
    |    |         Chaetocladius O81
    |    |           |--C. piger R86
    |    |           `--C. stamfordi O81
    |    |         Platycladius pleuralis O81
    |    |         Baeoctenus bicolor O81
    |    |         Psilometriocnemus triannulatus O81
    |    |         Oliveria tricornis O81
    |    |         Zalutschia O81
    |    |         Bryophaenocladius SA09
    |    |           |--B. carus SA09
    |    |           |--B. flavoscutellatus SA09
    |    |           `--B. (Odontocladius) nigrus R86
    |    |         Chasmatonotus unimaculatus O81
    |    |         Krenosmittia O81
    |    |         Pseudosmittia SA09
    |    |           |--P. forcipata SA09
    |    |           `--P. setavena O81
    |    |         Phycoidella dentolatens O81
    |    |         Parakiefferiella SA09
    |    |         Epoicocladius flavens O81
    |    |         Mariocladius subaterrimus O81
    |    |         Tempisquitoneura merrillorum SA09
    |    |         Onconeura semifimbriata SA09
    |    |         Stictocladius SA09
    |    |         Oliveiriella SA09
    |    |         Lopescladius (Lopescladius) verruculosus SA09
    |    |         Irisobrillia longicosta Oliver 1985 SA09
    |    |         Compterosmittia SA09
    |    |           |--C. aberrans SA09
    |    |           `--C. nerius SA09
    |    |         Paralimnophyes SA09
    |    |         Antillocladius pluspilalus SA09
    |    |         Mesosmittia tora SA09
    |    |         Lipurometriocnemus glabalus SA09
    |    |         Diplosmittia SA09
    |    |           |--D. beluina SA09
    |    |           |--D. carinata SA09
    |    |           `--D. forficata SA09
    |    |         Belgica antarctica RD77, N91
    |    |         Halirytus RD77
    |    |--Orthocladiini G09
    |    `--Metriocnemini G09
    |         |--Metriocnemus cretatus P92
    |         `--Parametriocnemus G09
    |              |--P. lundbeckii SA09
    |              `--P. stylatus G09
    `--Chironominae SA09
         |--Tanytarsini SA09
         |--Fushunitendipini H02
         |--Lacusitendipini H02
         |--Asiatendipes Hong 2002 [Asiatendipini] H02
         |    `--*A. labrosus (Hong 1981) [=Microtendipes labrosus, Eocenitendipes labrosus] H02
         |--Pseudochironomini SA09
         |    |--Pseudochironomus richardsoni SA09
         |    |--Aedokritus SA09
         |    `--Manoa SA09
         |--Longicopulini H02
         |    |--Longicopula Hong 2002 H02
         |    |    `--*L. xilutianensis Hong 2002 H02
         |    `--‘Longipedia’ Hong 2002 non Claus 1863 H02
         |         `--*L. longa Hong 2002 H02
         |--Frutexitendipini H02
         |    |--Frutexitendipes Hong 2002 H02
         |    |    `--*F. dongzhouheensis Hong 2002 H02
         |    |--Noditendipes Hong 2002 H02
         |    |    `--*N. guchengziensis Hong 2002 H02
         |    `--Dongbeitendipes Hong 2002 H02
         |         `--*D. foliolatus Hong 2002 H02
         |--Hamicaudini H02
         |    |--Hamicaudus Hong 2002 H02
         |    |    `--*H. osteneus Hong 2002 H02
         |    |--Succinaspinus Hong 2002 H02
         |    |    `--*S. orientales (Hong 1981) [=Aspinus orientales, Amberaspinus orientales] H02
         |    |--Yangitendipes Hong 2002 H02
         |    |    `--*Y. longivalvatus Hong 2002 H02
         |    `--Sinaspinus Hong 2002 H02
         |         |--*S. amblopteres (Hong 1981) [=Aspinus amblopteres, Amberaspinus amblopteres] H02
         |         `--S. stenopteres (Hong 1981) [=Aspinus stenopteres, Amberaspinus stenopteres] H02
         `--Chironomini SA09
              |--Chironomus SA09
              |--Harnischia curtilamellata SA09
              |--Cyphomella SA09
              |--Acalcarella O81
              |--Beckidia SA09
              |--Chernovskiia SA09
              |--Robackia SA09
              |--Demicryptochironomus cuneatus SA09
              |--Cryptotendipes casuarius SA09
              |--Paracladopelma undine SA09
              |--Saetheria SA09
              |--Kiefferulus dux SA09, O81
              |--Paralauterborniella nigrohalteris SA09
              |--Omisus pica SA09
              |--Stenochironomus SA09
              |--Endochironomus subtendens SA09
              |--Graceus O81
              |--Phaenopsectra coracina SA09, O81
              |--Stictochironomus histrio SA09, WP99
              |--Pagastiella ostansa SA09, O81
              |--Tribelos SA09
              |--Pedionomus beckae O81
              |--Demeijerea SA09
              |--Kloosia SA09
              |--Pelomus SA09
              |--Lipiniella SA09
              |--Fissimentum SA09
              |--Beardius SA09
              |--Oukuriella SA09
              |--Paranilothauma strebulosum [=P. strebulosa] SA09
              |--Neelamia SA09
              |--Zavreliella longiseta SA09
              |--Stelechomyia SA09
              |--Lauterborniella agrayloides SA09
              |--Xestochironomus SA09
              |--Endotribelos SA09
              |--Hyporhygma SA09
              |--Townsia subaberrans SA09
              |--Polypedilum SA09
              |--Microtendipes Kieffer 1915 SA09, H02
              |    `--M. pedellus SA09
              |--Paratendipes [Paratendipedidae] SA09
              |    |--P. albimanus SA09
              |    `--P. laiyangensis Hong & Wang 1990 RJ93
              |--Dicrotendipes SA09
              |    |--D. modestus SA09
              |    `--D. pelochloris O98
              |--Glyptotendipes SA09
              |    |--G. barbipes SA09
              |    `--G. gripekoveni CS77
              |--Parachironomus SA09
              |    |--P. hazelriggi SA09
              |    `--P. monochromus O81
              |--Einfeldia SA09
              |    |--E. atitlanensis Sublette & Sasa 1994 SA09
              |    `--E. pagana SA09
              |--Goeldichironomus SA09
              |    |--G. amazonicus SA09
              |    `--G. holoprasinus SA09
              |--Microchironomus SA09 [incl. Leptochironomus O81]
              |    |--M. deribae SA09
              |    `--M. nigrovittatus SA09
              |--Cladopelma SA09 [incl. Cryptocladopelma O81]
              |    |--C. forcipis SA09
              |    `--C. spectabile SA09
              |--Cryptochironomus SA09
              |    |--C. digitatus SA09
              |    `--C. obreptans R86
              |--Apedilum SA09
              |    |--A. elachistum SA09
              |    `--A. subcinctum SA09
              |--Xenochironomus SA09
              |    |--X. festivus O81
              |    |--X. scopula O81
              |    `--X. xenolabis SA09
              |--Axarus SA09
              |    |--A. festivus SA09
              |    |--A. rogersi SA09
              |    `--A. scopula SA09
              `--Nilothauma SA09
                   |--N. aleta SA09
                   |--N. babiyi SA09
                   |--N. brayi R86
                   `--N. duena SA09

Chironomidae incertae sedis:
  Riethia zeylandica ASD05
  Austrochlus GE05
  Anatopynia R86
    |--A. debilis [=Tanypus debilis] R60
    `--A. plumipes R86
  Euryhapsis subviridis R86
  Potomyia natans WP99
  Stichtotanytarsus WP99
  Eopodonomus O81
  Pachyneuronympha O81
  Nimbocera SA09
  Orthosmittia reyei CM91
  Paraborniella CM91
  Allotrissocladius CM91
  Austrocladius CM91
  Lundstroemia parthenogenetica W70
  Harrisius CM70
  Eocenitendipes Evenhuis 1994 H02
  Dolichopelma H02
  Camptocladius P92
  Cricotopiella P92
  Euhycnemus P92
  Palaeotanypus P92
  Sendelia P92
  Jentzschiella P92
  Cretodiamesa taimyrica P92
  Electrotenia brundini P92
  Spaniotoma conservata P92
  Libanochlites neocomicus Brundin 1976 P92

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[SA09] Spies, M., T. Andersen, J. H. Epler & C. N. Watson Jr. 2009. Chironomidae (non-biting midges). In: Brown, B. V., A. Borkent, J. M. Cumming, D. M. Wood, N. E. Woodley & M. A. Zumbado (eds) Manual of Central American Diptera vol. 1 pp. 437–480. NRC Research Press: Ottawa.

[WP99] Walter, D. E., & H. C. Proctor. 1999. Mites: Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour. CABI Publishing: Wallingford (UK).

[W70] White, M. J. D. 1970. Cytogenetics. In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 72–82. Melbourne University Press.

[Z02] Zherikhin, V. V. 2002. Ecological history of the terrestrial insects. In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 331–388. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

Last updated: 12 April 2022.


  1. There are nine subfamilies recognised, yet I see only six on your list. Where do you get your classification from?

  2. The sources for each are indicated alongside the names. So far, I've just gotten most of them from more general references on insects; presumably, I haven't yet gone through references that would give me the other three. Hence, also, the taxa listed as just general Chironomidae at the end, which presumably would be placed more specifically once I've found and taken info from an appropriate source.


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