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511 Views 5 Replies Last post: Jul 22, 2013 10:26 PM by Afterforty RSS
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Jul 21, 2013 11:59 AM

Please help me identify this insect

Hi.

 

I'm prone to being bitten by blood-suckers. Mosquitos, gnats, midges, horseflies - you name it. I'm like an all-you-can-suck buffet.

 

The last couple of years, I've been bitten by a mystery insect. I've attached 4 photos of one I found yesterday. I normally see them clamped to a bit of me, sucking blood out (with an imagined noise something like someone trying to get the last drop of milk-shake from the bottom of a glass).

 

My location is Chester, NW England.

 

Its head & thorax, abdomen and legs look mosquitoesque. When it's at rest, it does the "sticking the back legs in the air" thing that mosquitos do. For all the marvels of an Early Warning System, it seemed to be remarkably unaware of an industrial strength fly-swat!

 

It doesn't *seem* to have any visible biting parts.

 

It has a striped body, striped legs, and mottled wings. The legs have "sticky out leg parts" on some of the joints. The antennae aren't feathered.

 

Its size is quite large. I didn't get a ruler, but end to end, and wingtip to wingtip, I'd estimate the size at 20-25mm.

 

It's the wings that are confusing me. Normally (AFAICT) mosquitos fold their wings back over their abdomen at rest. This thing sticks its wings out at 90 degrees to its body. They also flex. The odd thing with this one is that at rest, the wings had collapsed, but when it saw me, it then seemed to open its wings up (sort of like a fan - on the photos the wings have a thick leading and trailing edge which moved apart). This could be an optical illusion, and that it actually has 2 pairs of overlapping wings that it stores "together" until they're needed.

 

This particular one is brown, but I've been bitten by beige, dark grey and almost black ones.

 

When I'm bitten, it's a definite pinprick hole, not the cut of a horsefly. I get an immediate reaction to it, and if I don't start on Piriton immediately, and for a couple of days afterwards, in the past I've ended up with a hen's egg size lump on the affected area, and if I'm not careful, I get infections and skin/tissue necrosis (nice!). The site of the bite goes numb immediately, then gets pins-and-needles.

 

If someone can help me with this, I would really appreciate it.

 

From now on, I'm covering up with jungle stren

 

Thanks.

 

Pete.

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