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Chironomid midge (Tanypodinae)

Taxonomic group

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

  • Hard bottom: 5
  • Soft bottom: 6.5

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

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).