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Window Gnat Sylvicola fenestralis / Sylvicola cinctus

Some Wood Gnats do look like the ordinary Gnats, but luckily Wood Gnats are harmless animals, that will never sting anyone. Still the Window Gnat is often killed by humans for it looks like a biting Gnat very much. The Window Gnat is one of the better known gnats, for it is attracted to light and can be found near windows, especially in spring time. The adults can be found all year long, though. The larvae live in rotting plants and rotting plant parts, moulded trees and near tree wounds. Adults appear in two variations: greyish black or reddish.

There is one problem though: it is not one species, but there are two: Sylvicola fenestralis and Sylvicola cinctus. Both are identical. To tell them apart you need to kill the animal and examine the genitals under a microscope. There is one difference though. Sylvicola fenestralis is a European species mainly. Sylvicola cinctus inhabits Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. It is even found on Hawaii, where it is known as the Hawaiian Wood Gnat. Scientists are still not completely sure about the genus Sylvicola, for it is a very complicated genus. Of most species the best thing to do would be to simply refer to them as Sylvicola spec.