Phantom Midge

Chaoborus sp.


Length 6 to 7mm. The male has a beige/brown thorax and abdomen, the thorax with a pale border, clear wings and plumed antennae. The female lacks the plumed antennae and has brown wings with a pale border. The two commonest species are C. obscuripes and C. crystallinus.


Small, shallow water bodies (C. crystallinus) or larger deeper lakes (C. obscuripes) with muddy bottoms and a fauna of small animals on which the larvae prey. They are called Phantom Midges or Glass-worms because the transparent larvae almost disappear as they hang motionless in the water column, waiting for their prey. The adults do not feed.

Status and distribution

Common and widespread throughout most of Britain, though less common in Scotland. Common in Nottinghamshire and at Netherfield Lagoons.

Best time to see

April to October.