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Dark-winged fungus gnat

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Dark-winged fungus gnat
Fungus gnat.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genera
  • Allopnyxia
  • Bradysia
  • Bradysiopsis
  • Camptochaeta
  • Chaetosciara
  • Corynoptera
  • Cratyna
  • Ctenosciara
  • Epidapus
  • Hermapterosciara
  • Hyperlasion
  • Keilbachia
  • Leptosciarella
  • Lycoriella
  • Mohrigia
  • Parapnyxia
  • Phytosciara
  • Pnyxia
  • Pnyxiopsis
  • Pseudolycoriella
  • Scatopsciara
  • Schwenckfeldina
  • Sciara
  • Scythropochroa
  • Trichodapus
  • Trichosia
  • Xylosciara
  • Zygoneura
Fungus gnat 1.jpg

The Dark winged fungus gnat is any of the 137 species of gnats that belong to the taxonomic Family Sciaridae. Its a small fly whose name is derived from its behavior of gathering fungi which it uses as food for its larvae. These Fungus gnats are mainly known as a nuisance to farmers and planters throughout the USA and Canada, but in fact, only a small number of their species are agricultural pests.[1] The Dark winged fungus gnats are more abundant in older and moist potting media that is full of rich fungi. Over potting and over watering that brings out most of these little insects. [2]

Anatomy

The long legged fungus gnats tend to have a spur where usually the tibia meets the tarsus, the fungus gnat's head joins the thorax at a narrowed "neck".[3] Adult fungus gnat's are about 2.5mm to 3.5mm long,They are grayish black,mosquito like,have one pair of wings and are slender.[4]. The larvae of the dark winged fungus gnat form a grouped snake-like appearance.[5]. The mature larvae of the Dark winged fungus gnat are slightly longer and slender than the adult and have a white translucent body with a black head.[6].

Reproduction

The female flies of the family Sciaridae can produce between 75 to about 200 white eggs which are oval and white They are laid on the soil surface and in crevices larvae may emerge between 4 to 6 days and are white with black heads. The complete development occurs within 2 to about 3 weeks at an approximate 22 degrees Celsius,which is usually a common house temperature. The pupal stage usually appears as a thick cocoon and lasts usually 4 to about 6 days in an approximate 22 degrees Celsius larvae of variations of species feed on organic matter that is decaying, soil and fungal. The larvae can also feed on rotting plant roots and lower stem tissue.[7]. Fungus Gnats cannot reproduce inside of buildings however they can enter buildings as flying adults and develop indoors through all life stages.[8]. When the fungus gnats hatch they usually tend to form a snake like appearance grouped together. [9] Adult fungus gnat's emerge from the pupal case in about 5 to 6 days, The adult lives about 7 days.[10] The life stage of the Dark winged fungus gnat starts off with the Adults laying eggs in wet moss,algae and other organic matter or in container cavities After the eggs hatch the hatchlings feed on Container-Seedling roots.If the conditions are adverse larvae spend winter in cocoons in organic matter and/or outside the nursery area. The larvae pupate becoming adults and the process repeats.[11]

Ecology

larvae of dark-winged fungus gnats

Adult's of the fungus gnat are found in dark moist places where usually larval food is present. Some species of Sciaridae are mostly active at dusk and have less activity at dawn. During the day adult fungus gnats congregate in these dark moist areas. These adult's are attracted to light.[12].

Indoor

Many of the Infestations of Fungus gnats are always around or near with the soil of over-watered atrium's and potted plants. Fungus gnats may be breeding near where fungus is growing on damp woodwork and wallboard in con structural voids. These sights may be usually Identified with variations of signs of moisture problems and water leak's,such as peeling paint,water stains,wall coverings or the swelling of walls, another site that can support the larval development where fungi may be growing are flat roofs that are particularly prone to droppings in pet bird cages or water leaks can be the source if the bottom liner is not changed in a timely manner.[13].

Outdoor

Most dark winged fungus gnats in Mulched areas are usually around and close to fungus gnat breeding zones, Other places that fungus gnats are found are usually areas where there is a vast growth of dead leaves,immense old compost piles and old firewood piles. [14]. Dark winged fungus gnat larvae grow outside in organic material around the house.Many of the adult Fungus gnats are attracted to the lights outside of the house and take shelter underneath car ports during periodic rains.Fungus gnats stay around your house until the raining season is over the dry season usually reduces breeding sites and many of the larvae.Dark winged fungus gnats stay only in the rainy season but once the rainy season is over you can be sure that they will return in the next rainy season.[15]

Diet

Fungus gnats are usually most of the time found on or near larval food materials. Larvae feed on moist decaying plant material, fungi growing in the soil and on plant tissue. Sciarid larvae mostly feed on Animal excrement, Fungus and decaying plant matter and some larvae even feed on rotting wood and wood under bark of fallen trees. Dark-winged fungus gnat maggots feed on the roots of alfalfa, carnations, clover, corn, cucumbers, Easter lilies, geraniums, lettuce, nasturtium, peppers, poinsettias, potatoes, soybeans, wheat, and organic matter throughout the United States.[16]

Crop Damage

The fungus gnat is primarily known as a nuisance, commonly damaging plant life. The larvae of feed on roots, thus usually stunting the plant growth root. Damage can occur in interior plantations and in houseplants if higher populations infest moist, organic-rich soil. Fungus gnat larval damage can be especially serious in greenhouses, nurseries, and sod farms. In addition to larvae chewing on roots, both larvae and adults can spread plant pathogens and may promote disease in commercial crops.[17]. They may also aid in the introduction of [plant diseases such as Cylindrocladium, Scelerotinia, Pythium and Theila-viopsis.[18]

Fungus Gnat Larvae migrating video

Fungus Gnat Larvae

References

External links