Series: RES Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects Volume: 09/06
By: Paul Freeman
68 pages, 162 b/w line drawings
Sciaridae, or black fungus midges as they are sometimes called, are an extremely uniform family of Nematocerous Diptera, frequently blackish in colour and mostly with a similar facies and biology. Their taxonomy has always presented problems, mainly because of the absence of obvious, good characterrs at generic level, so the student has always been faced with a mass of similar-looking species which he was unable to group adequately.
This handbook is not intended by any means to be a complete account of the British fauna of this family, but more a means of opening it up, so that entomologists will have available figures and keys to all the common species and to the genera. It is based almost entirely on the collections in the British Museum (Natural History) which were largely amassed by F.W. Edwards, and it is quite certain that many more species, particularly of Corynoptera, Lycoriella and Bradysia remain to be found. In fact, during the handbook preparation, eleven new species and nine others new to Britain were found in the un-named Accessions of the Museum. It is perhaps unfortunate that species recognition relies almost entirely, at present, on characters of the male external genitalia, so that females may be impossible to identify without associated males.
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