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Re: Culturing Chironomids (was LFD-V2#221)

Hello Steve,

Both mosquitoes and Chironomid midges are difficult to culture in
captivity, because they require lots of space to swarm in preparation
for mating. As far as I know, despite all of the research being done on
mosquitoes, no small-space culture methods for them are available.

However, the EPA has directions for culturing a Chironomid midge in 1-2
cubic feet of space and Tetramin flakes. If I remember correctly, it is
<Chironomus tentans>. Its larva -- the "bloodworm" -- is used to asses
the toxicity of sediments.

Unfortunately, there is more to it than following the directions. Twice
I have tried to culture them. Once I failed completely -- the egg mass
did not hatch, and the other time I nursed them through one generation
-- and then they died out!

The EPA used to have a course on toxicity assesment, I believe in Bent
Harbor, MI (?) where they were teaching how to culture Chironomids. I
don't know whether they still do it.

I would have continued to practice my "skill" in raising (or, rather,
killing) midges, but I don't know of a source of <C. tentans> eggs. If
you find a source, please let me know.



> From: Steve Pushak <teban at powersonic_bc.ca>
> Subject: culturing insect larvae in winter
> Small insect larvae like mosquitos and Chironomids make excellent live
> food for fish. They are very efficient feeders and easy to culture
> during the summer outdoors. It would be nice to have a plentiful supply
> of these larvae during the cooler months. Is there any safe way to
> culture these insects indoors without risk of being bitten or having
> them escape?
> ------------------------------
> End of Live Foods Digest V2 #221
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