Dark-Winged Fungus Gnat

Bradysia spp.

Appearance

Dark Winged Fungus Gnat
  • Adults are small, up to 1/8 inch (3mm) with a dark brown body
  • The slender whitish larvae feature a sclerotized head capsule
  • Darkly colored wings, small rounded head
  • Moderately prominent eyes that meet above the bases of the thread-like antennae
  • Legs and wings are comparatively long with 8 to 16 segments, common for many gnats
  • Look similar to mosquitoes
  • Females of several species are wingless

Lifecycle

  • Sciarid larvae are primarily found in soil and plant litter
  • Larvae mainly feed on fungi and animal feces, some eat plant parts above and below the earth
  • Larvae play relevant role in transforming forest leaf litter into soil
  • Adult females lay approximately 200 transparent eggs (each an approximate 1 mm in length) into moist soil, larvae hatch in approximately one week
  • Approximately 90% of the larvae are female
  • Several species, especially (Sciara militaris) are commonly found migrating in processions of up to 10 m, containing thousands of individuals
  • Adults with their characteristic dancing flight do not bite, rather they only ingest liquids and live long enough to mate and produce eggs, dying after approximately five days

Habits

  • Commonly found in greenhouses, near mushroom farms, soil, potted plants 
  • When disturbed the gnats run rapidly or take flight, typically consists of hovering or short darting movements over a small area
  • Most of the larvae are located in the top inch of soil 
  • Overwatering plants provides an ideal locale for the moisture-favoring gnats
  • Some species attack healthy tissue of economic plants such as wheat, potatoes, pine seedlings, alfalfa, cultivated mushrooms, red clover, as well as, various ornamentals such as tulip bulbs, ferns, geraniums, cacti, young orchids, begonias, coleus, areca, palms and dracaenas

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