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Chironomid midge (Paucispinigera)

Taxonomic group

Chironomidae: Paucispinigera

Diagnostic features

Paucispinigera is one of our lesser known members of the Chironomini 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. Paucispinigera has a slender body that may be red when live (pale when preserved). The head is small and the eyes are split into two barely-separated parts, one above the other.

Typical habitats

Paucispinigera larvae are mainly known from South Island bush-covered streams, and lakes, but there are occasional North Island records.


They are collector-gatherers feeding on fine organic matter including streambed algae.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 6
  • Soft bottom: 7.7

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Paucispinigera are mostly known from beech forest South Island streams (presumably with good water quality). They have tolerance values of 6 (hard bottom sites) and 7.7 (soft bottom sites).