Moderate-sized larvae, to 7 mm long.
Antenna 5 segmented, basal segment longer than flagellum. Ring organ on proximal 1/4 of basal segment. Blade and strong accessory blade arise from apex of basal segment. Lauterborn organs lacking. Antennal seta absent. Style absent.
SI seta blade-like; SII elongate, robust blade, 2x as long as SI, SIII short, seta-like; SIVa 2-segmented, SIVb a peg. Labral lamellae absent. Pecten epipharyngis a single plate. Premandible with 2 teeth, brush well developed.
Mandible lacking dorsal tooth, with apical tooth and 1-2 flat inner teeth. Seta subdentalis slender reaching subapical tooth. Seta interna with 4 plumose branches. Pecten mandibularis absent.
Mentum with double, or at least medially notched median tooth, occasionally broadly rounded, flanked by 7 pairs of lateral teeth outermost minute, fused with next inner. Three outermost teeth offset and clustered, set forward of the other teeth. Ventromental plates c1.5 times as wide as high, with fine striae, anterior margin crenulate.
Palp not strongly elongate.
Posterior parapod claws simple.
Larvae of Cladopelma, Cryptotendipes and Microchironomus differ from other genera of Chironominae, except for some Paracladopelma, in that the outer teeth of the mentum are somewhat enlarged and set forward relative to the slope of the other lateral teeth. Cladopelma larvae differ from those of Microchironomus in that the median tooth of the mentum is medially notched or simply rounded, never trifid and from Cryptotendipes in that the central part of the mentum does not slope much more steeply than the lateral regions.
- 1. Three lateralmost mental teeth separated by a deep notch, forming a separate cluster ... laccophila group
- -- Lateral teeth not separated in this way ... lateralis group
Larvae of Cladopelma occur in sandy and muddy substrata of lakes and rivers.
Known from the Holarctic, Afrotropical, Australian and New Zealand regions. About 17 species recorded from the Holarctic, mostly unknown or inadequately described as larvae.