|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (July 2012)|
Belgica antarctica is a species of flightless midge, endemic to the continent of Antarctica. At 2–6 millimetres (0.079–0.24 in) long, it is the largest purely terrestrial animal on the continent, as well as its only true insect. Its flightlessness may be an adaptation to prevent wind from blowing it into inhospitable sites. It can survive the freezing of its body fluids and has a life span of two years; with the two growing seasons it is able to accumulate the energy needed to reproduce. With its deep purplish black coloration it is able to absorb heat to survive. It is also able to tolerate large changes in salinity and pH and can survive without oxygen for 2–4 weeks. Belgica Antarctica can survive dehydration up to 35% of its normal original body weight. “It's the largest species that has adapted to living on the continent year-round, adding that other native animals, such as seals and penguins, spend much of their time in the water. The midge is also the only insect known to inhabit Antarctica.
- Luke Sandro & Juanita Constible. "Antarctic Bestiary — Terrestrial Animals". Laboratory for Ecophysiological Cryobiology, Miami University. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. http://www.units.muohio.edu/cryolab/education/antarcticbestiary_terrestrial.htm#Belgica. Retrieved December 9, 2008.