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Family Sciaridae - Dark-winged Fungus Gnats

Gnat - female  Sciaridae eggs Sciaridae - Fungus Gnat Maggots - maybe? Little Black Fly Thing - female On goldenrod - female Dipteran 26 - female Fly - Pnyxia scabiei - male Odontosciara nigra
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Nematocera" (Non-Brachycera))
Infraorder Bibionomorpha (Gnats, Gall Midges, and March Flies)
Superfamily Sciaroidea (Fungus Gnats and Gall Midges)
Family Sciaridae (Dark-winged Fungus Gnats)
Other Common Names
Mushroom Flies (Lycoriella)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Formerly treated a subfamily in Mycetophilidae
NA fauna revised in Mohrig et al. (2012)(1)
Explanation of Names
Sciaridae Billberg 1820
see Sciara
Numbers
~170 spp. in 25 genera in our area(1), close to 2500 spp. in 92 genera total(2)
Size
1-11 mm(3), usually under 5 mm
Identification
Small dark flies. Typical wing venation:

The larvae are white, slender, legless, with a black head and smooth semi-transparent skin revealing digestive tract contents.
Identification of adults at the species level is based primarily upon males which must be cleared with NaOH or KOH and mounted on slides. There is currently (2014) no way for a non-expert to identify most specimens even to genus.
Range
worldwide(4) and throughout NA(3)
Habitat
Mostly forests, swamps, and moist meadows (adults in foliage, larvae on fungi, decaying vegetation, plant roots, rotten wood, under bark, etc.); some live in extreme habitats (antarctic islands, mountains above 4,000 m, deserts); several spp. live exclusively in caves. Often found in flowerpots. In moist and shadowy areas up to 70% of all Diptera species can be Sciaridae.(4)
Life Cycle
Click on thumbnails
Remarks
Sometimes abundant enough to form a crawling mass of several inches across and several feet long, similar to armyworm migrations(3). Can be pests in greenhouses and in commercially grown mushrooms.(3)(4)