Mycetophilidae - Fungus-gnats

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Classification

NEMATOCERA, Bibionomorpha, Sciaroidea

Number of British species: 457

Size: T-S

Difficulty: 3-4

Scheme: Covered by the Fungus gnat recording scheme

Characters

Slender to relatively stout Nematocera, minute to large (2-15 mm) but more usually small to medium sized (4-8 mm). The colour varies from pale, dull yellow to brown or black. Head small; eyes dichoptic; 2 or 3 ocelli present; antenna usually with 16 segments but sometimes segments close together resembling a single third segment; mouthparts short, usually half as long as the height of the head, but sometimes longer or even extremely elongate as in Gnoriste. Thorax vaulted. Wing usually clear, in some cases tinged or with markings; venation characteristic (vein CuA1 and stem of veins M1 and M2 not connected or connected as far up as crossvein H); anal lobe absent or weak. Legs with elongate coxae; tibiae with long apical spurs.

Biology

The larvae of most species feed on mushrooms, bracket fungi or mycelium in moist, dead wood or in other moist organic substrates. They rarely are predators or feed on organic detritus in nests of birds, on mosses or on liverworts (Hepaticae). Some larvae live in a web they have spun themselves underneath tree trunks, bark, mushrooms and bracket fungi, etc. The adults (“fungus gnats”) occur chiefly in moist habitats, in woodlands in particular although some species prefer rather different habitats like grassland, marshes moist heather, etc. They often are active in the evening while during the day they hide in dark and shaded spots; some species are mainly found in caves and in burrows of rodent. Some species visit flowers and are important as pollinators of certain plants.

Identification

 
families/nematocera/mycetophilidae.txt · Last modified: 2008/05/24 17:00 (external edit)     Back to top
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