Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps

Family CECIDOMYIIDAE Newman, 1835

Compiler and date details

2011 - Updated by Judy King and Christine Lambkin, Queensland Museum

2008 - Minor updating by ABRS

1999 - E.-M.E. Bugledich, CSIRO Entomology, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia


The family Cecidomyiidae comprises small, fragile flies to which the vernacular name of 'gall midges' is often applied. This reflects the frequent, but by no means universal, larval habit of gall-forming in plant tissues.

Adult Cecidomyiidae are recognised by their elongate antenna and distinctive wing venation, with few weak veins, and a costa that is continuous round the wing, although sometimes interrupted just beyond the apex of R5.

The immature stages of Cecidomyiidae include many larvae that are plant gall inducers (only in subfamily Cecidomyiinae), but others that are phytophagous feed on plant parts, including flowers, without inducing galls. Gall shapes and hosts are characteristic and often species-specific. In the subfamilies Lestremiinae and Porricondylinae, many larvae are mycophagous including some that live in commercial mushroom cultivation. Certain larval Cecidomyiinae are predatory on aphids, mites or coccoids, and some are aphid or psyllid and coccoid parasitoids. Mycophagy and xylophagy are encountered quite frequently. Cecidomyiid larvae are apodous, and atypical nematocerans in that the head capsule is very small, with all appendages very reduced in size, and often with a distinctive spatulate structure in the prothorax. The pupa may develop in the larval habitat or the late larvae may crawl to another site to pupate. Some species in Porricondylinae only are paedogenetic.

The Cecidomyiidae are a species-rich family, with over 6000 species described. In Australia the diverse and rich fauna is not reflected in the numbers of described species. Only certain pest species have been well studied.
There is an erroneous record of the pestiferous Mayetiola destructor Say 1817 from Australia: the presence of this species has not been confirmed yet.

Cecidomyiids feature prominently in the fossil record, with 78 species reported predominantly from amber inclusions.


General References

Caresche, L.A. & Wapshere, A.J. 1975. The Chondrilla gall midge, Cystiphora schmidti (Rübsaamen) (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae). II. Biology and host specificity. Bulletin of Entomological Research 65: 55-64

Charles, T.T. 1986. Diadiplosis koebelei Koebele (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), a predator of Pseudococcus longispinus T.T. (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae), newly recorded from New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 12: 331-333

Clift, A.D., Loudon, B.J. & Toffolon, R.B. 1980. Occurrence of paedogenetic cecidomyiids (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in casing layer materials used in the Australian mushroom industry. General and Applied Entomology 12: 49-50

Ehler, L.E. 1987. Ecology of Rhopalomyia californica Felt at Jasper Ridge (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 63: 237-241

Franzman, B.A. 1993. Development of Contarinia sorghicola (Coquillett) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in pedicellate sorghum spikelets. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 32: 65-66

Franzman, B.A. & Zalucki, M.P. 1993. Effect of a resistant sorghum on sorghum midge, Contarinia sorghicolum (Coquillett) populations—a simulation study. pp. 323-325 in Corey, S.A., Dall, D.J. & Milne, W.M. (eds). Pest Control and Sustainable Agriculture. Melbourne : CSIRO xiii 514 pp.

Gagné, R.J. 1989. The Plant-Feeding Gall Midges of North America. Ithaca, New York : Cornell University Press xi 356 pp.

Gagné, R.J. 1994. The Gall Midges of the Neotropical Region. Ithaca, New York : Cornell University Press xv 352 pp.

Gagné, R.J. & Jaschhof, M. 2014. A Catalog of the Cecidomyiidae (Diptera) of the World. 3rd Edition. Digital version 2.

Gagné, R.J. & Marohasy, J. 1993. The gall midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) of Acacia spp. (Mimosaceae) in Kenya. Insecta Mundi 7: 77-124

Harris, K.M. 1968. A systematic revision and biological review of the cecidomyiid predators (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) on world Coccoidea (Hemiptera: Homoptera). Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London 119: 401-494

Harris, K.M. 1979. Descriptions and host ranges of the sorghum midge, Contarinia sorghicola (Coquillett) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), and of eleven new species of Contarinia reared from Gramineae and Cyperaceae in Australia. Bulletin of Entomological Research 69: 161-182

Kolesik, P. & Gagné, R.J. 2016. Revision of early taxa of Australian gall midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). Zootaxa 4205(4): 301–338

Melksham, J. 1991. The rise and fall of the groundsel gall midge Rhopalomyia californica in south east Queensland. Entomological Society of Queensland News Bulletin 19: 55-57

Moore, A.D. 1991. Gall formation on the different forms of skeleton weed by Cystiphora schmidti Rübsaamen (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 30: 237-238

Palmer, W.A., Diatloff, G. & Melksham, J. 1993. The host specificity of Rhopalomyia californica Felt (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) and its importation into Australia as a biological control agent for Baccharis halimifolia L. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 95: 1-6

Smith, H.S. & Compere, H. 1928. The introduction of new insect enemies of the citrophilus mealybug from Australia. Journal of Economic Entomology 21: 664-669


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
14-Jun-2017 CECIDOMYIIDAE 06-Apr-2017 MODIFIED
25-Feb-2013 25-Feb-2013 MODIFIED
16-Nov-2011 16-Nov-2011 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)