Description: “Cecidomyiidae”

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Section: glossary

Slug: Cecidomyiidae

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Title: Cecidomyiidae


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date: 2015-11-21


Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Diptera, Nematocera.

Common name: Gall midges.

Geographical distribution: World-wide; the family consists of about 6.200 species.

Morphology: The body of the adults is about 2-3 mm in length. The antennae are long and some of its segments carry whorls of hairs. The wings are mostly clear, with reduced venation, and the legs are long and slender. The larva is usually red to yellow, with a sclerotized, T-shaped structure, the spatula, on the venter of the prothorax.

Life history: The larvae of most species feed on plants (especially on members of the family Chenopodiaceae), often inducing the formation of galls. Other species feed on various detritus or on fungi, and a few are parasitic or predatory (like Aphidoletes aphidimyza and Feltiella acarisuga (Vallot)). The adults are very delicate, short lived, and do not feed. A few species reproduce by paedogenesis.

Economic importance: Damage is caused only by the larvae, which lay eggs and feed in or on plants. Many plants react to such intrusions by forming galls. Several species are major pests, especially Mayetiola destructor, the Hessian fly, which damages cereals. Apiomyia bergenstammi is a minor pest of pears in the Middle East. The species of some genera (like Arthrocnodax and Feltiella) are predatory and used for pest (especially aphids and mite control.


Plant resistance: Wheat cultivars that are resistant to the Hessian fly were developed in North America.

Chemical control: Seed dressing with various pesticides, or acetamiprid and pyrethroids in the field.

Biological control: Many patasitoids that attack gall midges are known, but their controlling effect is unclear.

Cecidomyiid pests included in this compendium

Apiomyia bergenstammi (Wachtl) (Pear gall midge).

Asphondylia gennadii (Marchal) (carob midge).

Contarinia citri Barnes (Citrus blossom midge).

Mayetiola destructor (Say) (Hessian fly).

Odinadiplosis amygdali (Anagnostopoulos) (Almond bud gall midge).

Cecidomyiid natural enemies included in this compendium

Aphidoletes aphidimyza (Rondani)


Barnes, H.F. 1946-1956. Gall Midges of Economic Importance, volumes I-VII. Crosby Lockwood & Son Ltd., London.

Cilbirciog, C. and Unal S. 2008. Gall Midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) In Forest Trees of Turkey. Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology 25: 13-23.

Dorchin, N., Mifsud, D. and Askew, R. 2014. Saltbush-associated Asphondylia species (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in the Mediterranean Basin and their chalcidoid parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea). Zootaxa, 3869 (4), 383–396.

Gagné, R.J. and Jaschhof, M. 2014. A Catalog of the Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) of the World, 3rd Edition. Digital version 2, 25: 1–408.

Hallett, R.H. and Sears M.K. 2013. Pheromone-based action thresholds for control of the swede midge, Contarinia nasturtii (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), and residual insecticide efficacy in cole crops. Journal of Economic Entomology 106: 267-76.

Hayon, I., Zvi Mendel, Z. and Dorchin, N. 2016. Predatory gall midges on mealybug pests – Diversity, life history, and feeding behavior in diverse agricultural settings. Biological Control 99: 19-27.

Nijveldt, W. 1969. Gall Midges of Economic Importance. Volume VIII. Crosby, Lockwood & Son Ltd., London.

Sharaf, N.S. 1984. Studies on natural enemies of Tetranychid mites infesting eggplant in the Jordan Valley. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie 98: 527–533.

Skuhravá, M., Skuhravý, V. and Elsayed, A.K. 2014. Gall midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) of Egypt: annotated list and zoogeographical analysis. Acta Societatis Zoologicae Bohemicae 78: 241-268.