The main difference between midges and mosquitoes is that midges do not have a proboscis (a long needle-like mouthpart) whereas mosquitoes have a proboscis. Furthermore, the wings of midges look like barren panes of glass while the edges of the wings of mosquitoes are covered in scales that look like fine hairs.
Midges and mosquitoes are two forms of lower flies, often mistaken for each other due to commonalities.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Midges
– Classification, Anatomy, Characteristics, Importance
2. What are Mosquitoes
– Classification, Anatomy, Characteristics, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Midges and Mosquitoes
– Outline of Common features
4. What is the Difference Between Midges and Mosquitoes
– Comparison of Key Differences
Detritivores, Disease Vectors, Midges, Mosquitoes, Proboscis, Wings
Midges – Classification, Anatomy, Characteristics, Importance
Midges are a type of smaller flies with two wings. These shorter wings are one of the main characteristic features of midges. Also, their wings are not covered by scales. Furthermore, another of their characteristic feature is that at rest, they keep their body straight. In fact, they look very similar to mosquitoes, and they belong to the suborder Nematocera under the order Diptera.
However, they do not contain a proboscis, the biting mouthparts as in mosquitoes. Therefore, they cannot bite, and on that account, they do not transmit diseases. Hence, they are usually harmless. Moreover, they serve as detrivores in many nutritional cycles. Nevertheless, a large number of slowly flying midges may form swarms, which are annoying.
But, there is a group of biting midges classified under the true fly family, Ceratopogonidae. They serve as vectors for the transmission of parasitic nematodes Mansonella, bluetongue disease, African horse sickness, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, arboviruses, and nonviral animal pathogens.
Mosquitoes – Classification, Anatomy, Characteristics, Importance
Mosquitoes are another type of lower flies of order Diptera. They belong to the family Culicidae. Both, the male and female mosquitoes, have an elongated proboscis extended forward. However, male mosquitoes are harmless and they sip nectar from flowers. Females also sip nectar. But, they require a blood meal to produce viable eggs. The saliva of the mosquito, when transmitted into the host, may cause itching. Importantly, they inject disease-causing organisms into the host as well. Therefore, they serve as vectors of diseases including malaria, yellow fever, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, dengue fever, filariasis, Zika virus, and other arboviruses.
Moreover, the wings of mosquitoes are longer than their body. Also, they are fringed wings, bearing scales which create a fringe-like border on the trailing or posterior edge. At resting, mosquitoes show a humpback appearance, holding their body away from the substrate.
Similarities Between Midges and Mosquitoes
- Midges and mosquitoes are two types of lower flies belong to the order Diptera.
- In fact, they are insects with a pair of functional wings.
- The three parts of their body are the head, thorax, and abdomen.
- Their head contains a pair of large compound eyes.
- Also, their bodies are long, and wings are narrow.
- Moreover, both have aquatic larvae.
- And, both are attracted to light.
Difference Between Midges and Mosquitoes
Midges refer to a small or minute two-winged fly that forms swarms and breeds near water or marshy areas while mosquitoes refer to a slender, long-legged fly with aquatic larvae and its bloodsucking females can transmit several serious diseases including malaria and elephantiasis. Thus, this is the fundamental difference between midges and mosquitoes.
Importantly, the main difference between midges and mosquitoes is that the midges do not have a proboscis while mosquitoes have a proboscis.
Also, the wings of midges look like barren panes of glass while the edges of the wings of mosquitoes are covered in scales that look like fine hairs.
The Length of the Wings
Another visible difference between midges and mosquitoes is the length of their wings. Midges have short wings while mosquitoes have longer wings, which cover their body.
Moreover, midges fly slowly, forming swarms while mosquitoes fly fasters.
Interaction to Light
Besides, midges do not prefer direct sunlight while most mosquitoes are active in direct sunlight.
Furthermore, midges show a straight appearance at rest by lowing their thorax on to the substrate while mosquitoes show a humpback appearance by keeping their body away from the substrate.
Midges are mainly harmless and serve as detritivores in natural ecosystems while mosquitoes are bloodsuckers the serve as vectors for the transmission of diseases.
Midges are small flies with a pair of short wings. Importantly, they do not have a proboscis for sucking. Therefore, midges are not harmful insects. On the other hand, mosquitoes are flies of the same order as the midges. But, they have a proboscis and, they can serve as vectors for the transmission of diseases. Also, the end of the wings of mosquitoes is covered by scales. In summary, the main difference between midges and mosquitoes is their mouthparts, wings, and importance.
1. “Mistaken Identities.” American Mosquito Control Association, Association Headquarters Inc., Available Here.
1. “male Chironomid non-biting midge” By Martin Cooper (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Mosquito Tasmania crop” By JJ Harrison – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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