This species is the main sciarid pest in mushroom houses. The larvae burrow into the sporophores and sometimes cause the death of the developing buttons; mushroom size is also affected. As larvae move through the mushroom compost they leave behind a characteristic slime trail.
Eggs are deposited mainly in the compost, although sometimes also on the developing mushrooms, either singly or in small groups. They hatch within a few days. Larvae develop rapidly and pass through four instars before pupating, each in a flimsy cocoon consisting of fragments of compost and strands of silk. There is a succession of generations, and development from egg to adult takes from 3 to 6 weeks, depending on temperature.
Adult black-bodied; eye bridge present (see Fig. 87); wings 2.0-2.8mm long, with a reduced anal area (cf. Lycoriella solani, below); palps 3-segmented. Egg 0.7 x 0.3 mm, oval, translucent. Larva up to 8 mm long, translucent-whitish; head shiny black, with powerful mouthparts.
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