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(Cecidomyiidae or Itonididae), a family of mosquito-like insects of the order Diptera. The dimensions of the gall midge are small (1-5 mm), and the nervation of the wings is simple. The larvae, which are narrowed at the ends and are red, orange, or green, carry a chitinous sternal spatula on the ventral side. Larvae of the lower Cecidomyiidae develop in the rotting remains of plants, and those of the higher Cecidomyiidae in the tissues of plants, causing the formation of galls (hence the designation “gall midge”); the species of a gall midge is determined according to the species of its plant host and according to the shape of the gall it forms. Adult gall midges live approximately 20 days, and they do not feed. About 3,500 species are known. Gall midges are found in Europe, Asia, and North America. There are about 500 species in the USSR. Because they develop in the tissues of plants, many gall midges cause serious damage to agriculture and forests. The most dangerous species are the Hessian fly; the millet midge; the wheat midge (Contarinia tritici), which damages the ears of rye and wheat; the rye-stem gnat (Hybolasioptera cerealis), which damages the bundles of stalks in many cultivated cereals; the pear midge (Contarinia pyrivora); and the raspberry midge (Lasioptera rubi), which damages horticultural gardens. Protection against gall midges is often very difficult; it is based on agrotechnical and other measures.
A. B. LANGE