The dark winged fungus gnats (Sciaridae) are a large family of flies (c. 1,700 species worldwide (1)), with 104 species alone described in Ireland (2). They are commonly found in moist environments, and some the larvae of some species are pests of commercial mushroom farms, specifically Lycoriella mali (3).
Normally these 1 – 11 mm long flies are quite drab in appearance, with black bodies and appendages and dark wings (as the common name suggests). However one species that bucks the trend is Sciara hemerobioides. While its head, thorax, legs and wings are dark like other Sciaridae, it has a bright yellow abdomen with bold black strips across it. The adults can be seen in a variety of damp habitats, such as heathlands and wetlands, where the adults feed on nectar from umbelliferous flowers (4). The larvae feed on fungi and rotting vegetation.
- Surhone et al., 2010. Sciaridae p. 7
- Ferriss et al. 2009, Irish Biodiversity: A Taxonomic Inventory of Fauna p. 100
- Mullen et al., . Medical and Veterinary Entomology pp. 137-138
- Menzel et al., 2006. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 146 pp. 1-147