Highland midge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Highland midge
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Ceratopogonidae
Genus: Culicoides
Subgenus: Culicoides
Species: C. impunctatus
Binomial name
Culicoides impunctatus
Goetghebuer, 1920
  • C. minor Tokunaga, 1941

The highland midge (scientific name: Culicoides impunctatus; Scots: Midgie; Scottish Gaelic: Meanbh-chuileag) is a species of small flying insect, only found in upland and lowland areas (fens, bogs and marshes) of the north west of Scotland and northern Wales from late spring to late summer. Similar insects are also found in suitable habitat throughout the British Isles, Scandinavia, other regions of Europe, Russia and Northern China.[1] Female Highland midges are well known for gathering in clouds and biting humans, and are the smallest flies in Scotland to do so, though the majority of the blood they obtain comes from cattle, sheep and deer.[2] They are generally regarded as pests.

Following Scotland's exceptionally cold winter in the early part of 2010, scientists found that the prolonged freezing conditions, rather than reducing the following summer's midge population in the Scottish Highlands, in fact increased it as the cold weather had reduced the numbers of its natural predators, such as bats and birds.[3]


Female midges tend to bite in close proximity to their breeding site (although they have been found up to 1 km away) and near to the ground. They are most active just before dawn and sunset but bite at any time of day. Midges are less active with wind speeds of over 6 mph, or humidity below 60-75%.[2]


Further reading[edit]

  • Hendry, George. Midges in Scotland 4th Edition, Mercat Press, Edinburgh, 2003 ISBN 1-84183-062-3

External links[edit]