Ever been annoyed in the shower by tiny little flying things?
Ever actually tried to work out what they are, only to be baffled by a combination of their tiny size and confusing features?
Well I have. These things are tiny - the ones in my bathroom (ahem... yep it needs cleaning) have a wingspan of only 2-3 mm. There's a larger species (the one in the photo) that I sometimes see which is about 5 mm. In case you're wondering, I actually nabbed this one from a bathroom and brought it home for some photos, which seems somehow wrong...
And what are they? My first thought was a moth. Scaly-looking wings, hairy etc. But the antennae don't look right. And there's apparently only one set of wings.
Turns out they're a fly (order Diptera). They live in the suborder of flies called Nematocera (thread-like antennae) along with things like mosquitos, the other suborder being the Brachycera (short antennae) which are the more typical houseflies, robberflies etcetera.
And the family of these guys? Psychodidae.
They've got a variety of common names - washroom flies, drain-flies (reflecting their frequent use of bathrooms) and moth-flies.
They apparently like that gunk of fungus and god knows what else that accumulates in shower drains and the like. I wouldn't be surprised if they did well in sewer environments too.
What's more, my species looks awfully like what is identified as Clogmia albipunctata on this page (go there to see some other funky species too). That's in Japan; the species also appears common in America. I wonder where they're originally from?