What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

Logo: What Bug Is That? Logo: Taxonomy Research & Information Network



Adult Chaoboridae resemble mosquitoes closely such that a vernacular name of 'blind mosquitoes' has been coined. The adults do not bite. They may occur in very large swarms, particularly close to eutrophic water bodies. The family Chaoboridae is cosmopolitan but is not species-rich any where.

Chaoboridae larvae are aquatic, being found in many standing water bodies. In their behaviour, larval chaoborids are unusual - they are planktonic predators. The exception is Australomochlonyx nitidus , which is a filter feeder. Larval densities can be very high, and therefore adults can be very numerous, especially around northern Australian billabongs.


Chaoboridae differ from true mosquitoes (Culicidae) in having a short proboscis and dense hairs rather than scales on the wing veins.
Larval Chaoboridae are recognised by their prehensile antennae, which are used in feeding, and the frequent presence of an airsac in the thorax and posterior abdomen.


The nominate genus, Chaborus , is widespread. Australomochlonyx and Promochlonyx are Australian endemics. The fossil record includes several amber inclusions from as early as the late Cretaceous of Lebanon, with a few earlier compression fossils dating from the Middle Jurassic.

  • Chaoboridae larvae

  • Chaoboridae