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Classification and Identification

There are currently 108 genera of Ceratopogonidae grouping the more than 6,200 named species and their classification is based on an understanding of their evolutionary relationships. Such evolutionary trees (called phylogenies) provide a powerful predictive tool to understand and interpret the biological characteristics of the species. From such a basis, we can predict, for example, where species may be living as immatures, the kind of food they eat as larvae and as adults, whether they might be transmitting diseases, and how they mate. It is always best practice if this is reflected in their classification. It makes the classification more predictive of their biological features, distribution and provides a comprehensive context to place new species when they are discovered.  I am presently finishing up a large work on the phylogeny of the family at the generic level, providing better resolution of many of the taxa. Because of this, some new aspects of their classification will also be included.

Identification of any stage of biting midges depends on knowledge of body parts to use the available keys and a good place to go for adults for both anatomy and keys is to any of the Ceratopogonidae chapters in the various Diptera Manuals that have been published: see Manual of Nearctic Diptera (Downes and Wirth, 1981), Manual of Palaearctic Diptera (Boorman, 1997), Manual of Central American Diptera (Borkent et al. 2009) and the most recent, Manual of Afrotropical Diptera (Borkent, 2017). In addition a book on Neotropical Ceratopogonidae by myself and Gustavo Spinelli covers that region (Borkent and Spinelli, 2007). The Oriental Region is mostly covered by Borkent (2004) and Australia by a series of publications by Debenham (see the world catalog, Borkent and Dominiak for references there). The keys there have enough illustrations to use the keys and each Manual also has a general anatomy of Diptera chapter that can help those who are less experienced.

Pupae can be identified to the generic level using Borkent (2014) and rather rarely to the species level. Larval keys exist but much work remains to be done. Most genera are unknown as either pupae or larvae.