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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

22 August, 2016

Ptychoptera contaminata: a fungus gnat

We tend to think of gnats as being tiny, biting insects but actually, the family they belong to includes much larger, non-biting species such as crane flies and fungus gnats. This fungus gnat (Ptychoptera contaminata) is probably the most common of the fifty or so species of fungus gnat found in Britain.
One of seven fold winged fungus gnat species this one seems to have been injured as one of its wings is folded back along its body whist the other is sticking out to the side. The pattern of black dots on the wings is the best way to tell species apart.
They are called fungus gnats because their larvae, as opposed to the adults which are found in waterside vegetation, are found on fungi where some species feed on the fruiting body and spores whereas other species feed on other tiny insects that visit the fungus to eat.
Ptychoptera contaminata: a fungus gnat