Everyone knows that beetles are the most common insects, right? Well, that’s what the insect books say, anyway. There are certainly more described species of beetles than any other insect, or any other group of animals.
But I have heard entomologists suggest that maybe that is not true. There may be more flies than beetles. Beetles are perhaps easier to catch and preserve, or may be more charismatic than the flies. So there may be many more undescribed species of Diptera than of Coleoptera. Enough to make up the difference.
I participated in an insect sorting/citizen science workshop at Grinnell College’s Conard Environmental Research Area this winter. We sorted insects collected in malaise traps. Small flies clearly outnumbered other insects collected with this method.
So here is another small fly. This is a midge, family Chironomidae. They have red aquatic larvae which typically rest on the bottom of a pond or puddle. I used to keep tropical fish and would feed the larvae (fishkeepers call them bloodworms) to my angelfish. Bloodworms would quickly get them into spawning condition.
The fact that the front legs are raised while in the resting position shows that this is a chironomid and not a mosquito. The feathery antenna means it is a male.