Repost from 16 September 2009

Spiderwebs are full of them, but they’re too small to be of interest to the spider.  There are so many they look like a haze in the air.  They get all over your clothes, in your eyes, your nostrils, ears.  It could be worse, though; farmers hereabouts are reporting a mass presence of buffalo gnats, which bite.  Best I can figure out, these little bugs are water midges; their super-power consists of being very small and annoying, but they don’t bite.

My shirt was covered with them. Nice thing about getting a photograph on a piece of fabric is you can determine later exactly how big the subject is.  This little guy is three millimeters from front of head to rear wingtip.

UPDATE: Diane liked this picture better, with the insect on my fingertip. The fuzzy dark thing behind the wing is the handlebar of my bicycle.  I agree it’s a nicer picture, and even gives a better sense of the insect’s size, though not precise data.  If I were a photo-editor for an entomology textbook, or a magazine, it would be a challenge.  But I’m just a blogger, and “ink” is free, so here they both are.

Critters this small are a macrophotography challenge

One on the back of my hand:

Here’s a sense of how many we’re dealing with, illuminated by a sunbeam in the courtyard