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Chaoborus sp. pupa, Netherlands.jpg
Chaoborus pupa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Nematocera
Infraorder: Culicomorpha
Superfamily: Culicoidea
Family: Chaoboridae

The Chaoboridae, commonly known as phantom midges, are a family of fairly common midges with a cosmopolitan distribution. They are closely related to the Corethrellidae and Chironomidae; the adults are differentiated through peculiarities in wing venation. If they eat at all, the adults feed on nectar. The larvae are aquatic and unique in their feeding method. The antennae of phantom midge larvae are modified into grasping organs, which capture food, such as small insect larvae and crustaceans - Daphnia and mosquito larvae. The antennae impale or crush the prey, and then bring it to the larval mouth, or stylet. The larvae sometimes move about their lacustrine habitats in large swarms.


Larvae and adults alike are pale yellow or nearly transparent. The delicate flies resemble mosquitoes with 15-segmented antennae, which are very plumose in the males. The species grow to between 2 and 10 mm long.

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