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No See Ums

February 25, 2022

Today’s animal is a No See Ums. These insects are also known as biting midges or sand fleas. They are small flies, and their adults are only around an eighth of an inch in length.


No See Ums are gray. Tiny hairs cover these insects’ wings, creating different patterns which enable entomologists to distinguish one species from another. Their larvae look like small, whitish worms or caterpillars. Just as their nicknames infer, you are unlikely to spot the No See Ums with the naked eye, especially those that have not fed.


No See Ums feed on plant nectar.

Their females also bite hosts and feed on blood, just as the female mosquitoes. The blood meal helps them in egg production. They lay eggs in moist environments.


These insects undergo complete metamorphosis with four stages. Their eggs hatch between two and seven days. Depending on the prevailing environmental conditions, species, and area, the larval stage can take as little as two weeks or as much as one year. The pupal stage takes between two and three days before the No See Ums become adults.


Even though the larval stage can last for up to one year, the lifespan of adult No See Ums is between two and seven weeks.

Fun Facts about No See Ums!

Although these insects are pesky bugs, they are fascinating animals.

  • There are more than 5,000 species of No See Ums.
  • No See Ums live in almost all parts of the world except the polar regions.
  • No See Ums have special mouthparts that are designed for cutting skin and drinking blood.

1 Comment

  1. Bowser

    Walk in the Maine woods in the imposing shadow of Mount Katahdin in the heat of summer. You’ll never forget that incessant noisome grating sing song of the No See-ums in your ears combined with their ceaseless biting. How those seemingly microscopic insects tormented me during high summer when I was a callow youth, incarcerated, as it were, in summer “camp” while my parents vacationed. I can still recall the yearly trepidation I’d feel when I’d be ushered into my father’s office and be told that, “Your mother and and I have decided that another year in summer camp will serve you best.”

    Leaving, following this heart breaking news which I had to digest annually, my ears would begin to feel hot and I could swear that I began to feel those awful bugs again. When I was ten, my younger brother was also sentenced to the gulag with me and though I could impart little knowledge about the upcoming “fun” to be experienced in camp, I was able to fully explain what he’d face on the insect front and watch him blanch under the weight of this knowledge.


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