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Culicoides sonorensis midge

Microscope view of a Culicoides biting midge, dark gray in color throughout its body with transparent wings featuring small black markings near the outer edge of each. The midge is laid on a white background next to a partial view of the "tails" side of a U.S. dime. The midge is not much larger than the letter E in the words "ONE DIME" that appear on the bottom of the dime.

The Culicoides biting midge, a tiny fly in the order Diptera, transmits several important animal viruses. One of the most significant is the bluetongue virus, which causes bluetongue disease in cattle, sheep, deer and other ruminants. A new study gets closer to answering how biting midges such as Culicoides sonorensis (shown here next to a U.S. dime) maintain transmission of bluetongue virus to cattle in temperate regions year after year, even though individual midges are unlikely to survive entire winters. (Photo by Xinmi Zhang, Ph.D.)

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