Entomologist Discusses Midge Mating With Weather Network

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Prof. Stephen Marshall

Prof. Stephen Marshall, School of Environmental Sciences, spoke to the Weather Network for a report on why midges congregate near lakes at this time of year.

Marshall explained that midges are non-biting and this is their usual season for mating over waterways.

“The males form these massive swarms and they hang out in these big swarms sort of dancing up and down until a female comes in and then they drop out, mate quickly,” he explained. “The female goes back out over the water and drops eggs onto the water surface.”

Although they may be a nuisance to humans, midges are crucial to the nutrient cycle, Marshall said, as they provide food for fish and birds.

An entomologist and insect taxonomist who began curating the U of G Insect Collection as an undergrad, Marshall ultimately expanded the collection from a few hundred thousand to nearly 3 million specimens.