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Chironomid midge (Tanytarsini)

Taxonomic group

Chironomidae: Tanytarsini

Diagnostic features

The Tanytarsini is a tribe of midges within 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. The Tanytarsini abdomen is often red or green, and often appears deeply segmented. They have double eyes that are well separated, and arranged one above the other. The antennae are long and visibly curved.

Typical habitats

Tanytarsini larvae are abundant in many streams with abundant algae or aquatic plants


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

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 3
  • Soft bottom: 4.5

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

Tanytarsini larvae are found in many stream types, but they are most abundant in algae-covered or weedy (often nutrient enriched) sites. They have tolerance values of 3 (hard bottom sites) and 4.5 (soft bottom sites).