Please refer also to the following link for details on this group:
Cecidomyiidae: Link 1
Description & Statistics
Cecidomyiidae (sometimes spelled Cecidomyidae) is a family of flies (Order Diptera) known as gall midges or gall gnats. Most gall midges feed within plant tissue, creating abnormal plant growths called galls.
These are very delicate small insects usually only 2-3 mm in length and many are less than 1 mm long. They are characterised by hairy wings, unusual in the Order Diptera, and have long antennae. Worldwide there are 3000+ species but since 1,100 are from well-studied North America this may be an underestimate. Many are economically significant especially the important insect pest of wheat, the Hessian fly, the galls causing severe damage to the crop. Other important pests include 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) the raspberry cane midge (Resseliella theobaldi) on fruit crops; and the rosette gall midge (Rhopalomyia solidaginis) on goldenrod stalks.
Many species are natural enemies of other crop pests. The larvae of these species are predaceous, and some are even reported as parasitoids. The most common prey are aphids and spider mites, followed by scale insects , then other small prey such as whiteflies and thrips and many eat the eggs of other insects or mites. Because the tiny larva are incapable of moving considerable distances, there usually has to be a substantial population of prey 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 larvae are able to reproduces without maturing first. In some species the daughter larvae are even produced within a mother larva , and they consume the mother and in other species reproduction occurs in the egg or pupa.
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