Welcome to the Chironomidae and Water Beetles of Florida Web Site!


The midge adult above is Dicrotendipes thanatogratus,
named by me in 1987 for the Grateful Dead!!!

Here you'll find current information on the taxonomy and distribution of these wonderful groups of insects in Florida and elsewhere.
Information includes (click on your choice):


NEW!  Workshop manual from my 2017 FAB Chironomidae workshop.  Basically updates everything since 2001 manual; includes new figures and info.  Click here.
Additions and Corrections to my 2014 "Identification Guide to the Larvae of the Tribe Tanytarsini (Diptera: Chironomidae) in Florida" (last update
1 February 2019)
Corrections and additions for the new "Holarctic Keys" (last update 4 August 2014)
Additions and corrections to my 2010 "Water Beetles of Florida" (last update
28 December 2020)
Additions and corrections for my 2001 "Identification Manual for the Larval Chironomidae (Diptera) of North and South Carolina" (last update
21 September 2015)
Additions and corrections for my 2006 aquatic Heteroptera manual (last update
8 December 2020)
Checklist of the Chironomidae of Florida (last update:
1 July 2021)
Checklist of the water beetles of Florida (last update:
  4 October 2021)
Checklist of the aquatic/semi-aquatic Heteroptera of Florida (last update 
18 August 2023)
Checklist of the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Florida  (
last update 25 March 2021)
Additions and corrections to my 1995 "Identification Manual for the Larval Chironomidae (Diptera) of Florida" (last update: 24 October 2001)
Additions and corrections to my 1996 "Identification Manual for the Water Beetles of Florida"  (last update: 8 December 2007. - 
NOTE - no longer updated; see new 2010 Florida water beetle manual)
Instructions on how to obtain the NEW HOLARCTIC KEYS for chironomid larvae and other oddball papers (last update:
9 November 2016)
A list of my scientific publications Many available for download!  (last update:
23 February 2021)
A list of new taxa that I've described (last update: 28 February 2020)
My collection of "interesting" scientific names (last update:
16 February 2003)
My little buddy Gateway  (last update: 13 November 2001)
Notes on insect identification, biomonitoring and my identification manuals (last update 16 December 2002)

Information on taxonomic workshops

Hi! I'm John Epler.  I've been working with aquatic insects, and Chironomidae (non-biting midges) in particular, for over 45 years, as well as with water beetles for over 20 years.  I work as an independent researcher/consultant - although I have written aquatic insect identification manuals for the states of Florida and North Carolina/Southeastern US, I am not employed by any state or federal agency.  Since earning my Ph.D. from Florida State University over 30 years ago, I've been able to make a living by identifying aquatic insects and writing books/manuals on how to identify them.  This work has enabled me to fund my own research describing new genera and species of midges and water beetles. On this web site you'll find a small sampling of the results of my research from the past four + decades.


                ancient picture from 1997, when I first created this site

                "modern" picture from 2010

If you need professional assistance with aquatic insect identification, QA/QC of voucher/reference specimen collections, species lists, or workshops on chironomid midges, water beetles or water bugs, please contact me for rates, availability, etc.


Contact me at johnepler3ATcomcast.net
[replace the  AT with the "at" symbol - @ - ]


Identification Guide to the Larvae of the Tribe Tanytarsini (Diptera: Chironomidae) in Florida

New keys for those pesky Tanytarsini larvae!  Some of the previously letter-designated taxa now have "real" names! 
To download click here

The larvae of Chironomidae (Diptera) of the Holarctic Region - Keys and diagnoses

Yes, the long awaited successor to the classic 1983 Holarctic Keys for chironomid larvae is now available!
please click HERE for details



The Water Beetles of Florida - an identification manual for the families Chrysomelidae, Curculionidae, Dryopidae, Dytiscidae, Elmidae, Gyrinidae, Haliplidae, Helophoridae, Hydraenidae, Hydrochidae, Hydrophilidae, Noteridae, Psephenidae, Ptilodactylidae and Scirtidae (2010). 

Sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, this manual covers larvae and adults of Florida's water beetles, many illustrated in full color.  Posted on line for FREE download (152 MB).  To download click here


Identification Manual for the Aquatic and Semi-aquatic Heteroptera of Florida (Belostomatidae, Corixidae, Gelastocoridae, Gerridae, Hebridae, Hydrometridae, Mesoveliidae, Naucoridae, Nepidae, Notonectidae, Ochteridae, Pleidae, Saldidae, Veliidae) (2006)

Sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, this manual covers the aquatic and semi-aquatic true bugs (Heteroptera) of Florida.  It includes the families Belostomatidae, Corixidae, Gelastocoridae, Gerridae, Hebridae, Hydrometridae, Mesoveliidae, Naucoridae, Nepidae, Notonectidae, Ochteridae, Pleidae, Saldidae and Veliidae.  The  manual features full color digital pix of most of the bugs!  To download click here.



Identification Manual for the larval Chironomidae (Diptera) of North and South Carolina.  A guide to the taxonomy of the midges of the southeastern United States, including Florida (2001)

 Although written in name for North and South Carolina, this manual covers the entire southeastern USClick here to download it (about 9 MB).



Links to other nifty sites:


The Chironomid Home Page

Chironomidae Exchange Forum
Broughton Caldwell's Chironomidae of Georgia (USA) checklist
Pete Cranston's publications page
Chironomidae Research Group at U of Minnesota (Len Ferrington)
Jon Martin's web page
(information on the genus Chironomus)
The Russian Chironomid Home Page
The Ceratopogonid Web Page


Kelly Miller's web site
Andrew Short's "The Short Research Group" (hydrophilids galore!!)

Other stuff:

Ephemeroptera Galactica - info on mayflies
Florida Association of Aquatic Biologists  (formerly called Florida Association of Benthologists)
Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Identification Manual Library  (downloadable manuals for many aquatic groups, in PDF format)

Florida Entomological Society
Friends of Wakulla Springs - info on one of the world's wonders and the people that care about it
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System) - take your chance and look up a name! (some groups, especially Chironomidae, still need a lot of work;
do not expect to obtain accurate taxonomic information on North American Chironomidae from ITIS!)
Society for Freshwater Science (formerly "North American Benthological Society")

Claudia Nocke's Wildlife Art - really nifty stuff!



This site was created in July/August 1997 and is maintained by J.H. Epler.
All data and figures on this web site © John H. Epler, Ph.D.

(last updated 18 August 2023)