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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Diptera (true flies) | Corethrellidae


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Corethrellidae (formerly within Chaoboridae)
Subfamily: none
Genus: Corethrella
This family is repesented in Australia by a single genus, Corethrella.

Descriptive Features:

  • head capsule complete
  • antennae prehensile
  • mandibles usually with several teeth, generally operating in more-or-less horizontal plane
  • 3 thoracic segments fused and enlarged
  • abdomen 9-segmented
  • long respiratory siphon present on abdominal segment 8
  • anal segment with rudimentary ventral brush
  • Total length:
  • Taxonomic Checklist: Species
    Corethrella alba Borkent (larva unknown)
    Corethrella collessi Borkent (larva unknown)
    Corethrella marksae Colless
    Corethrella mckeeveri Colless (larva unknown)
    Corethrella pallidula Colless (larva unknown)

    Distribution: E NSW, E Qld, Vic. These species are endemic.

    Sensitivity Rating: none

    Functional Feeding Group: predators


    Loddon River, Vic

    Ecology: The larvae of Australian Corethrellidae are not well known so most of the information below is from Northern Hemisphere studies.
    Instream habitat: Larvae of all Corethrellidae species live in water collected in leaf axils, tree holes or small water bodies such as small pools, swamps, lagoons, ditches and the hyporheic zone of small streams. In the larger of these types of water bodies, they are usually found among floating macrophytes.
    Feeding ecology:Corethrellid larvae are predatory upon zooplankton which they wait to pass where they are anchored. Adults generally suck blood from other invertebrates but some females have functional mandibles which are used to pierce the cuticle of frogs,giving rise to the common name of ‘frog-biting midges’.
    Habit: Larvae anchor themselves with their siphons amongst detritus or another substrate, only returning to the surface to breathe. Pupae inactively float on the water surface.
    Life history: In laboratory colonies, females mated shortly after emergence, so it is possible that mating takes place at emergence sites close to the larval habitats. Eggs are laid singly to float on the water surface. Pupation is short; adults emerge and fly away after a few days.


    Information Sources: Borkent 2007, 2008, Bugledich 1999, Colless 1994, Colless & McAlpine 1991
    Key to Species: none