Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Chironomid midge ( Chironomidae : Tanypodinae )

Diagnostic features

The Tanypodinae is a subfamily of chironomid midges. Like other chironomids the general body form is worm-like, but with a distinct head, and with paired prolegs under the head and at the end of the abdomen. Tanypod larvae can be larger than many midges, and they may be red, green or pale. The tanypod head tends to be large, and roughly bullet-shaped, though more rounded on top and flatter underneath.

Typical habitats

Tanypod larvae are found in a wide range of streams, rivers and lagoons.


Tanypods may have a range of feeding strategies, but some species are known to be prey on other invertebrates.

Indicator value

Tanypod larvae can be common in pristine streams, but also in some polluted streams. They have mid-range tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 6.5 (soft bottom sites).