Aquatic Insects of Michigan

by Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan

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Simuliidae - Black Flies, Buffalo Gnats

Black flies are common inhabitants of most flowing waters, with adult females often requiring an obligate blood meal for egg development, including man. Up to 54 species have been reported to bite humans (Adler, Currie and Wood 2004), and the prodigous numbers in which they emerge and bite make many species an annoying pest, and in some cases a health concern. In western Africa, black flies are associated with the transmission of a filarial onchocercid nematode that causes onchocerciasis (river blindness). Black flies also attack and affect the health of other mammals and birds, and are associated with the transmission of a variety of parasitic forms (reviewed by Adler, Currie and Wood 2004).

The adult is usually a small, dark fly with a characteristic humped thorax, whose appearance gives them the common name buffalo gnats. Black fly eggs, larvae, and pupae are aquatic, and almost exclusively lotic. Larvae, which orient themselves into the current, use a cephalic structure with fine fans to filter feed on organic matter suspended. Larvae remain attached to a substrate by using a posterior ringed structure that hooks onto a pad of silk built by the larva. Larvae also graze upon periphyton growing upon substrates. When food and competitive conditions are optimal, one can find larval densities that are quite staggering. Black flies pupate in a silken cocoon which is attached to a substrate.

The phylogeny, systematics and cytology, distribution, biology and ecology of the Nearctic species of Simuliidae north of Mexico has been superbly reviewed in a recent work by Adler, Currie and Wood (2004), and their classification scheme is followed. The Holarctic region contains two subfamilies, Parasimuliinae and Simuliinae. Species of the former are found in North America only in the western part of the continent. All species of black flies recorded in Michigan are classified in the subfamily Simuliinae, divided into two tribes: Prosimuliini (Twinnia, Helodon and Prosimulium) and Simuliini (Greniera, Stegopterna, Cnephia, Ectemnia, Metacnephia and Simulium). This arrangement differs from the organization found in Stone et al. (1965), which provided the systematic organization for the previous list.

Genera are denoted in green; species denoted in bold blue have been recorded in Michigan; other species denoted in black bold are expected to occur based on their known distribution. You can use the Find function in your web browser to locate families, genera, and species. Synonomous species (indented) are listed below the current valid species (denoted in bold) with its taxonomic status indicated.

    Cnephia Enderlein, 1921 (Tribe Simuliini)
      Cnephia dacotensis (Dyar & Shannon, 1927) Eusimulium (orig.) - Merritt et al. 1978
        (syn.) Simulium lascivum Twinn, 1936
        (syn.) Cnephia 'sp.A' Pruess et al., 2000
      Cnephia ornithophilia Davies, Peterson & Wood 1962 - Merritt et al. 1978
        (syn.) Cnephia '(near pecuarum)' Hoicking & Richards, 1952
        (syn.) Cnephia (Cnephia) 'U' Bennett, 1960

    Ectemnia Enderlein, 1930 (Tribe Simuliini)
      Ectemnia invenusta (Walker, 1848) Silmulium (orig.) - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Cnephia 'sp.1' Jamnback, 1951
        (syn.) Cnephia (Ectemnia) loisae Stone & Jamnback, 1955
      Ectemnia taeniatifrons (Enderlein, 1925) Cnetha (orig.) - Stone 1964

    Greniera Doby & David, 1959 (Tribe Simuliini)
      Greniera abdita (Peterson, 1962) Cnephia (orig.) - ON (may be found in e. UP)
      Greniera abditoides Wood, 1963 - ON (may be found in UP)
      Greniera denaria Davies, Peterson, & Wood, 1962 - ON (may be found in UP)

    Helodon Enderlein, 1921 (Tribe Prosimuliini)
      Helodon (Parahelodon) decemarticulatus (Twinn, 1936) Simulium (orig.) - ON, WI (Adler et al. 2004, expect in the UP)
      Helodon (Parahelodon) gibsoni (Twinn, 1936) Simulium (orig.) - Merritt et al. 1978, Adler et al. 2004
      Helodon (Parahelodon) vernalis (Shewell, 1952) Prosimulium (orig.) - ON (se. LP of MI?)

    Metacnephia Crosskey, 1969 (Tribe Simuliini)
      Metacnephia saskatchewana (Shewell & Fredeen, 1958) Cnephia (orig.) - widespread boreal, expect on Isle Royale or extreme n. UP)
        (syn.) Simulium 'sp.' Twinn et al., 1948
        (syn.) Cnephia 'N' Fredeen, 1951
        (syn.) Cnephia 'species N' Hocking & Pickering, 1954

    Prosimulium Roubard, 1906 (Tribe Prosimuliini)
    Simulium Latrielle, 1802 (Tribe Simuliini)
      Simulium (Nevermannia) aestivumDavies, Peterson & Wood 1962 - Adler et al. 2004 (expect in UP)
        (syn.) Eusimulium 'Labrador' Brockhouse, 1984
      Simulium (Hellichiella) anatinum Wood, 1963 - Adler et al. 2004: 307
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) ‘H’ Bennett, 1960
        (syn.) Cnephia sp. ‘T’ Anderson & DeFoliart, 1961
      Simulium (Boreosimulium) annulus (Lundström, 1911) Melusina (orig.)- Adler et al. 2004: 314
        (syn.) Simulium euryadminiculum Davies, 1949
      Simulium (Simulium) appalachiense Adler, Currie & Wood 2004 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium tuberosum ‘CDE sibling’ Landau, 1962
        (syn.) Simulium tuberosum ‘CDE-2’ Mason, 1982
        (syn.) Simulium ‘CDEM’ tuberosum Mason, 1984
      Simulium (Eusimulium) bracteatum Coquillett, 1898 - Adler et al. 2004: 328
        (comb.) Eusimulium aureum bracteatum Dyar & Shannon, 1927
        (syn.) Eusimulium aureum ‘Sibling A’ Dunbar, 1958
        (mid.id.) Simulium (Nevermannia) aestivum Cupp & Gordon 1983, not Davies et al. 1962
      Simulium (Nevermannia) burgeri Adler, Currie & Wood 2004 - Adler et al. 2004 (expect in UP)
        (syn.) ‘undescribed species near S. fionae’ Currie, 1997
      Simulium (Hellichiella) congareenarum (Dyar & Shannon, 1927) Eusimulium (orig.) - ON (one record from Bruce Peninsula), east to Great Slave Lake (NWT) Adler et al. 2004: 308
      Simulium (Simulium) conundrum Adler, Currie & Wood 2004 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium tuberosum ‘FGH sibling’ Landau, 1962
      Simulium (Nevermannia) craigi Adler & Currie, 1986 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) vernum ‘complex’ Adler, 1983
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) vernum‘cytotype A’ Rothfels & Brockhouse in Okaeme, 1983
        (syn.) Eusimulium vernum ‘Cypress Hills’ Brockhouse, 1984
        (syn.) Eusimulium vernum ‘Nipigon’ Brockhouse, 1984
        (syn.) Simulium ‘X’ Hunter, 1987
      Simulium (Nevermannia) croxtoni Nicholson & Mickel, 1950 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) ‘sp. E’ Shewell, 1957
      Simulium (Simulium) decorum Walker, 1848 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium venustum ‘var. piscicidium’ Johannsen, 1902
        (syn.) Simulium decorum katmai Dyar & Shannon, 1927
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) ottawaense Twinn, 1936
        (syn.) Simulium ‘C’ Fredeen, 1956
        (syn.) Simulium ‘sp. 1’ Anderson & Dicke, 1960
      Simulium (Boreosimulium) emarginatum Davies, Peterson & Wood, 1962 - Adler et al. 2004: 317 (Commencement Creek, MI, coll. Twinn, 1936)
        (syn.) Simulium ‘n. sp.’ Bennett, 1960
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) ‘sp. near emarginatum’ Adler, 1983
      Simulium (Hellichiella) excisum Davies, Peterson & Wood, 1962 Merritt et al. 1978, Adler et al. 2004: 312
        (syn.) Simulium (Hellichiella) ‘sp. Near subexcisum’ Shewell, 1957
      Simulium (Eusimulium) exulatum Adler, Currie & Wood 2004 - Adler et al. 2004 (expect in boreal UP)
        (syn.) Eusimulium aureum ‘Sibling C’ Dunbar, 1958
      Simulium (Nevermannia) fionae Adler, 1990 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Eusimulium vernum ‘A-Type’ Brockhouse, 1984
        (syn.) Eusimulium vernum ‘Eastmain’ Brockhouse, 1985
        (syn.) Simulium (Nevermannia) ‘species near furculatum/croxtoni’ Adler & Kim, 1986
        (syn.) Simulium ‘sp.’ Hunter & Connolly, 1986
        (syn.) Simulium ‘sp. near furculatum/croxtoni’ Hunter, 1987
      Simulium (Schoenbaueria) furculatum (Shewell, 1952) Eusimulium (orig.) - Adler et al. 2004 (expect in boreal UP)
        (syn.) Eusimulium ‘species B’ Twinn et al., 1948
      Simulium (Nevermannia) gouldingi - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) ‘species 1’ DeFoliart, 1951
        (syn.) ‘Sp. 27’ Jamnback, 1951
      Simulium (Hellichiella) innocens (Shewell, 1952) Eusimulium - Adler et al. 2004: 308
      Simulium (Hemicnethia) innoxium Comstock & Comstock, 1895 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Schoenbaueria aldrichiana Enderlein, 1936
        (syn.) Simulium pictipes‘B’ Bedo, 1975
      Simulium (Simulium) irritatum Lugger, 1897 - Adler et al. 2004 (expect in boreal UP)
        (syn.) Simulium venustum ‘CC9gB)B’ Rothfels, 1979
        (syn.) Simulium venustum ‘CC3’ Rothfels, 1981
      Simulium (Simulium) jenningsi Malloch, 1914 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium venustum var. a Johannsen, 1902
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) nigroparvum Twinn, 1936
      Simulium (Boreosimulium) johannseni Hart in Forbes, 1912 - IL, MN, ON, WI, Adler et al. 2004: 321 (expect in sw. LP and the UP)
        (syn.) Simulium ‘2’ Fredeen, 1956
        (syn.) Simulium (Hellichia) johannseni duplex Shewell & Fredeen, 1958
      Simulium (Simulium) luggeri Nicholson & Mickel, 1950 Merritt et al. 1978 (LP), 2, Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) ‘L’ Fredeen, 1951
        (syn.) ‘species…resembling Simulium luggeri‘ Davies et al., 1962
        (syn.) Simulium ‘n. sp. aff. luggeri’ Pistrang, 1983
      Simulium (Byssodon) meridionale Riley, 1887 - WI, Adler et al. 2004: 324 (expect in the w. UP)
        (syn.) Simulium occidentale Townsend, 1891
        (syn.) Simulium tamaulipense Townsend, 1897
        (syn.) Simulium forbesi Malloch, 1914
      Simulium (Simulium) minutum Lugger, 1897 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium venustum ‘CC1 (Ca 1 and CTC1)’ Rothfels et al., 1978
      Simulium (Nevermannia) modicum Adler, Currie & Wood 2004 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Eusimulium pugetense ‘IL-st’ Choate, 1984
        (syn.) Eusimulium pugetense ‘cytotype A’ Hunter & Connolly, 1986
      Simulium (Simulium) molestum Harris, 1841 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium ‘A/C venustum’ Rothfels et al., 1978 (proposed synonym by Adler, Currie & Wood 2004)
      Simulium (Simulium) murmanum Enderlein, 1935 - Stone 1964, Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium ‘sp. O’ O’Kane, 1926
        (syn.) Simulium ‘sp. II’ Puri, 1926
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) corbis Twinn, 1936
        (syn.) Simulium (s. str.) relictum Rubtsov, 1940
        (syn.) Gnus forsi Carlsson, 1962
      Simulium (Simulium) perissum Dyar & Shannon, 1927 - IL, IN, MN, OH, ON, WI - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium tuberosum ‘CKL-type’ Landau, 1962
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) tuberosum ‘Complex’ Preuss & Peterson 1987
      Simulium (Hemicnethia) pictipes Hagen, 1880 - Stone 1964, Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium ‘n. sp. nr. pictipes’ Shewell, 1957
        (syn.) Simulium (Hagenomyia) longistylatum Shewell, 1957
        (syn.) Simulium pictipes ‘n. sp. nr. pictipes’ Wolfe & Peterson, 1959
      Simulium (Eusimulium) pilosum (Knowlton & Rowe, 1934) Eusimulium - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Eusimulium utahense Knowlton & Rowe, 1934
        (syn.) Eusimulium aureum ‘Sibling B’ Dunbar, 1958
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) aureum ‘Complex’ Pruess & Peterson, 1987
      Simulium (Nevermannia) quebecense Twinn, 1936 - Adler et al. 2004
      Simulium (Simulium) rostratum (Lundström, 1911) Melusina - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium ‘sp.1’ Malloch, 1919
        (syn.) Simulium wilhelmii Enderlein, 1922
        (syn.) Simulium groenlandicum Enderlein, 1935
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) sublacustre Davis, 1966
        (syn.) Simulium ‘ACD verecundum’ Rothfels et al., 1978
      Simulium (Simulium) rugglesi Nicholson & Mickel, 1950 Stone 1964, Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) ‘M’ Fredeen, 1951
      Simulium (Nevermannia) silvestre (Rubtsov, 1956) Eusimulium (orig.) - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Eusimulium latipes ‘St. Rose’ Landau in Dunbar, 1962
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) vernum ‘complex’ Lake, 1980
        (syn.) Simulium (Eusimulium) vernum ‘cytotype B’ Rothfels & Brockhouse in Okaeme, 1983
        (syn.) Eusimulium vernum ‘Caledon’ Brockhouse, 1984
        (syn.) Simulium caledonense Adler & Currie, 1986
      Simulium (Psilozia) tribulatum Lugger, 1897 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium glaucum Coquillett, 1902
        (syn.) Simulium venustoides Hart in Forbes, 1912
        (syn.) Simulium vittatum ‘IIIL-1’ Rothfels & Featherston, 1981
        (syn.) Simulium ‘sp.’ Osborne et al., 1985
        (syn.) Simulium vittatum ‘cytotype IIIL-2’ Sutcliffe & McIver, 1987
        (syn.) ?Simulium ‘spp.’ Mullens & Dada, 1992 (in part)
      Simulium (Simulium) truncatum (Lundström, 1911) Melusina (orig.) - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium venustum ‘EFG/C (CEFG, CEF)’ Rothfels et al., 1978
        (syn.) ‘species near Simulium truncatum’ Gordon & Cupp, 1980
      Simulium (Simulium) tuberosum s.s., (‘cytotype AB’) (Lundström, 1911) Melusina (orig.) Merritt et al. 1978, Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) tuberosum ‘A sibling’ Wong, 1976
        (syn.) Simulium tuberosum ‘Y 2’ Mason, 1982
      Simulium (Simulium) vandalicumDyar & Shannon, 1927 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) turmale Twinn, 1938
        (syn.) Eusimulium ‘species’ Frost, 1949
        (syn.) Simulium tuberosum ‘FG sibling’ Landau, 1962
        (syn.) Simulium (Simulium) tuberosum ‘B sibling’ Wong, 1976
        (syn.) Simulium tuberosum ‘s.l.’ Tang et al., 1996
      Simulium (Simulium) venustum s.s. Say, 1823 Merritt et al. 1978, Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium sp. Forbes, 1912
        (syn.) Simulium ‘CC venustum’ Rothfels et al., 1987
      Simulium (Simulium) verecundrum s.s., Stone & Jamnback, 1955 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium ‘(probably venustum)’ Davies, 1971
        (syn.) Simulium ‘AA venustum (Transposition Sibling)’ Rothfels et al., 1978
        (syn.) Simulium ‘A/C verecundum (PS3)’ Rothfels et al., 1978
        (syn.) Simulium ‘AA-AC verecundum’ Gordon & Cupp, 1980
        (syn.) Simulium ‘CC ver.’ Rothfels., 1981
        (syn.) Simuliumverecundum ‘AA-A/C-CC’ Ciborowski & Adler, 1990
      Simulium violator Adler, Currie & Wood 2004 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Eusimulium aureum ‘Sibling D’ Dunbar, 1958
      Simulium (Psilozia) vittatum Zetterstedt, 1838 - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium vittata Zetterstedt, 1837 (nomen nudum)
        (syn.) Simulium nasale Gistel, 1848
        (syn.) Psilozia groenlandica Enderlein, 1936
        (syn.) Simulium asakakae Smart, 1944
        (syn.) ‘simuliid’ Craig, 1968
        (syn.) Simulium vittatum ‘IS-7’ Rothfels & Featherston, 1981
        (syn.) ?Simulium ‘sp.’ Grant, 1991

    Stegopterna Enderlein, 1930 (Tribe Simuliini)
      Stegopterna diplomutata Currie & Hunter, 2003 - ON, WI (expect in Dickinson Co. environs by border, also rest of UP)
        (syn.) Cnephia mutata '2n' Basrur, 1957
        (syn.) Cnephia mutata 'diploid' Basrur & Rothfels, 1959
      Stegopterna emergens (Stone, 1952) Cnephia (orig.) - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Cnephia 'species #2' Anderson & Dicke, 1960
        (syn.) Stegopterna tshukotensis Rubtsov, 1971
      Stegopterna mutata (Malloch, 1914) Prosimulium (orig.) - Adler et al. 2004
        (syn.) Simulium 'species undescribed' Strickland, 1911
        (syn.) Simulium 'Undescribed species No.2' Ritcher, 1931
        (syn.) Simulium 'sp.A' Johannsen, 1934
        (syn.) Cnephia mutata 'triploid' Basrur & Rothfels, 1959
        (syn.) Stegopterna mutata '(IIIL-1 sibling)' Crosskey, 1990

    Twinnia Stone & Jamnback, 1955 (Tribe Prosimuliini)
      Twinnia tibblesi Stone & Jamnback, 1955 - northeastern

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References

    Adler PH, Currie DC, Wood DW. 2004. The black flies (Simuliidae) of North America. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, New York. xv + 941 p.
    Merritt RW, Ross DH, Peterson BV. 1978. Larval ecology of some lower michigan black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) with keys to the immature stages. The Great Lakes Entomologist 11(4):177-208.
    Stone A. 1964. Guide to the insects of Connecticut. Part VI. The Diptera or true flies of Connecticut, ninth fascicle. Simuliidae and Thaumaleidae. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut Bulletin 97. vii + 126 pp.

Page created: November 29, 2002 - Last updated: November 04, 2013 (EB)