SPECIES ID / Invertebrates

True Flies

Phantom Midges


  • 15 species in North America
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family: Chaoboridae

Identification Tips:

• Nearly transparent
• Body behind head (thorax) swollen wider than head or abdomen
• Stout antennae with long bristles on end project down from head
• No prolegs
• 2 dark air sacs visible through skin, one behind head and one near rear of abdomen

Life History:

• Primarily in lakes, ponds and pools, but also slow moving streams
• Migrate vertically in water column; on bottom by day and rising by night
• Regulate buoyancy using 2 air sacs
• Feed on zooplankton and insect larvae in water column (including mosquitoes)
• Can tolerate very low oxygen levels on bottom of ponds and lakes by using oxygen in air sacs

Very Sensitive Somewhat Sensitive Facultative Somewhat Tolerant Very Tolerant

Primary Information Source:
Voshell, J. Reese. 2002. A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company. Blacksburg, Virginia.