|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Italian Wikipedia. (April 2012)|
Cecidomyiidae (sometimes spelled Cecidomyidae) is a family of flies (order Diptera) known as gall midges or gall gnats. As the name implies, the larvae of most gall midges feed within plant tissue, creating abnormal plant growths called galls.
Cecidomyiidae are very fragile small insects usually only 2–3 mm in length; many are less than 1 mm long. They are characterised by hairy wings, unusual in the order Diptera, and have long antennae. More than 3000 species are found worldwide, but since 1,100 are from well-studied North America, this may be an underestimate. Many are economically significant especially the Hessian fly, a wheat pest, as the galls cause severe damage. Other important pests of this family are the lentil flower midge (Contarinia lentis), the lucerne flower midge (C. medicaginis) and the alfalfa sprout midge (Dasineura ignorata) on the Leguminosae; the swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii) and the brassica pod midge (Dasineura brassicae) on the Cruciferae; the pear midge (Contarinia pyrivora) and the raspberry cane midge (Resseliella theobaldi) on fruit crops; and the rosette gall midge (Rhopalomyia solidaginis) on goldenrod stalks.
A large number of species are natural enemies of other crop pests. Their larvae are predaceous, and some are even reported as parasitoids. The most common are aphids and spider mites, followed by scale insects, then other small prey such as whiteflies and thrips, which eat the eggs of other insects or mites. As the larvae are incapable of moving considerable distances, a substantial population of prey must be present before the adults will lay eggs, and Cecidiomyiidae are most frequently be seen during pest outbreaks. One species, Aphidoletes aphidomyza, is an important component of biological control programs for greenhouse crops and is widely sold in the United States of America.
Cecidomyiidae are also known for the strange phenomenon of paedogenesis in which the larval stage reproduces without maturing first. In some species, the daughter larvae consume the mother, while in others, reproduction occurs later on in the egg or pupa.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cecidomyiidae.|
- Diptera.info images
- Family description and images
- Aphidoletes aphidimyza and biological control
- Gall Midge Resistant Lowland Rice Varieties: Glutinous Varieties for the Lao PDR
- Fungus Gnats Online
- on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site*