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Family Overview
The aquatic fly genus Atherix includes 3 North American species. Aquatic snipe flies usually prefer streams and rivers with lots of dissolved oxygen, such as in lotic-erosional or depositional habitats. They can be found sprawling or burrowing in the substrate. Though they might not look like it, the larvae are piercing predators with strong hooks in the narrow head. To the novice, a larva looks much like a caterpillar, with ventral prolegs and terminal appendages that appear to be antennae. However, those appendages are at the wrong end of the body: their “antennae” are actually long posterior tubercles, divergent terminal fringed processes that help with locomotion and serve as backend "feelers."
Characteristics
POLLUTION TOLERANCE
Mid-Atlantic: up to 2
Upper Midwest: up to 2
Midwest: up to 3.1
Southeast: up to 2.1
0 = least tolerant, 10 = most tolerant
FEEDING HABITS
Piercer / Predator
MOVEMENT
Burrower
Sprawler
Diagnostic Characters
+ Expanded Character List
Order: Wings and wing pads absent. Eye spots sometimes visible, but compound eyes absent. Segmented legs absent, but sometimes fleshy prolegs present. Sometimes with distinct head, often without head or with head drawn deeply into thorax. Body flattened, cylindrical, or maggot-like.
Family: Not defined.