|Posted by David Moskowitz on October 16, 2009 at 7:32 PM|
The other title of this post is "Oh Shit, It's somewhere in my house and I'm damn glad my wife wasn't home when it got loose and flew away!"
I've been trying to find a moth fly for a few weeks now. They are really small, really cool fuzzy looking flies (Psychodidae) that have broad rounded wings and resemble moths. Since the first time I saw one, I've found them to be really interesting despite a rather disgusting ecology. The best way to find them is to look in warm places where there are drains. The larva feed in the gunk that clogs up drains, hence their other common name: drain flies (or sewage gnats). One of the most reliable places are public restrooms that have floor drains. For example, I've seen them a number of times at Bally's Fitness in the men's locker room where there are quite a few perpetually wet floor drains and in various public restrooms at highway rest stops. I've even been lucky enough to have them in my bathroom at home from time to time, but not recently since we Draino'ed the sink... I guess that has got to stop. I mean which would you rather have, the inconvienence of a clogged sink or drain flies? Seems like a no-brainer too me.
Here is some info on their life history from Cornell: The drain flies may go through the life cycle in 1 to 3 weeks, and the adults can live for about 2 weeks after emerging. Eggs are laid in irregular masses in such places as water traps in plumbing fixtures, around built in sinks, garbage disposals, or anywhere moist decaying organic matter occurs. The larvae and pupae are aquatic or semi-aquatic, living in the decomposing film of organic matter. The larvae live in moist organic matter and feed principally on algae. The muck of gelatinous material that accumulates on the sides of drains and overflow pipes in houses may provide suitable breeding sites. Some species are able to survive hot water and soap.
So the other day, I was lucky enough to find one on the wall in a bathroom at Panera Bread. Fortunately, I had my reuseable coffee cup with me and after spilling out the coffee, I was easily able to corral it into the cup. And, even more luckily, I wasn't seen by anyone, because even I know that trying to explain that "I was just catching a drain fly" in the men's room probably wouldn't go over too well in today's politically correct world...take a look at this fly, it's REALLY cool. Unfortunately, I only have this one photo because just after I snapped this picture it flew away to somewhere in the house and despite a rather intense search I couldn't find it. But, I can only hope it wasa fertilized female and in a short period of time, the Moskowitz household will be blessed by a few more to photograph!!!!!