These small, black-bodied flies are often numerous in glasshouses and other protected sites and sometimes reach pest status. The larvae feed on algae growing on potting composts and rockwool growing-media, and on algae developing in nutrient-film troughs. Development from egg to adult takes approximately 2 weeks at normal glasshouse temperatures. Although not directly damaging to crop plants, the larvae may act as vectors of fungal diseases. The adult flies may
also cause concern and can be a nuisance, particularly when they contaminate pre-packed, plastic-wrapped food crops such as lettuce; the flies also soil glasshouse plants with specks of faecal material. Adults of Scatella are often mistaken for scuttle flies (see p. 177) or sciarid flies (see p. 167), but they are readily distinguishable by the twice-broken costal veins and by the slightly dusky wings which have several small, clear patches visible in the membrane (Fig. 256). Larvae of Scatella are dirty yellowish to dirty greenish, with a pair of conspicuous, dark-tipped posterior respiratory tubules (see Fig. 103).
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