They are found on practically every land area except permanently dry deserts and the frozen zones. Some midges, such as many Phlebotominae (sand fly) and Simuliidae (black fly), are vectors of various diseases. Others are prey items for insectivores, such as various frogs and swallows.
The highland midge of Scotland (Culicoides impunctatus) is present in huge numbers. It is a significant blood-sucking pest. It is found in upland and lowland areas (fens, bogs and marshes) especially in the north west of Scotland from late spring to late summer.
The habits of midges vary greatly from species to species, though within any particular family midges commonly have similar ecological roles. Examples of families which include midges are:
- Blephariceridae, net-winged midges
- Cecidomyiidae, gall midges
- Ceratopogonidae, biting midges
- Chaoboridae, phantom midges
- Chironomidae, non-biting midges
- Deuterophlebiidae, mountain midges
- Dixidae, meniscus midges
- Scatopsidae, dung midges
- Thaumaleidae, solitary midges
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