Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biologically-based Technologies for Management of Crop Insect Pests in Local and Areawide Programs

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Examination of the pest status of corn-infesting Ulidiidae (Diptera)

item Goyal, Gaurav
item Nuessly, Gregg
item Seal, Dakshina
item Steck, Gary
item Capinera, John
item Meagher, Robert - Rob

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/5/2012
Publication Date: 10/1/2012
Citation: Goyal, G., Nuessly, G.S., Seal, D.R., Steck, G.J., Capinera, J.L., Meagher Jr, R.L. 2012. Examination of the pest status of corn-infesting ulidiidae (Diptera). Environmental Entomology. 41(5):1131-1138.

Interpretive Summary: Over 40,000 acres of sweet corn is grown in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties of southern Florida. Sweet corn is attacked by caterpillar pests that feed on the leaves and ears and also by picture-winged flies that feed exclusively on the ears. However, the pest status of the flies isn’t known. Scientists at the University of Florida, the Division of Plant Industry/Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and at the USDA, Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, conducted greenhouse and field experiments using three species of flies and sweet corn infested or not infested with caterpillars. Results suggested that more flies were able to complete development on corn ears that were previously infested with caterpillars. All three fly species should be considered primary pests that can render unprotected sweet corn ears unmarketable.

Technical Abstract: Larvae of eleven species of picture-winged flies (Diptera: Ulidiidae) are known to feed on corn plants (Zea mays L.) in the western hemisphere. Choice and no-choice tests were conducted in greenhouse and field trials to determine the pest status on sweet corn of three of these species found in Florida: Chaetopsis massyla (Walker), Euxesta eluta Loew, and E. stigmatias Loew (Diptera: Ulidiidae). The experiments were set up as split-plot designs with three levels of ear infestation as the main treatments [uninfested, infested with Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) or E. eluta larvae] and subsequent exposure to C. massyla, E. eluta, or E. stigmatias adults as the sub-treatments. Ears were exposed to the sub-treatments to allow oviposition for 10 d following first silk and the resulting infested ears were harvested and held for adult emergence. All three species were reared from uninfested and both types of infested ears in both choice and no-choice tests in greenhouse and field trials confirming both primary and secondary modes of ear infestation. More flies of all three species emerged from corn ears that were pre-infested with S. frugiperda than uninfested corn ears suggesting either preference for or greater survival within ears previously infested with such larvae. Fewer E. stigmatias and C. massyla adults emerged from ears pre-infested with E. eluta in no-choice tests suggesting that previous infestation by this fly may negatively affect oviposition or that older fly larvae affect survival of neonate larvae. All three species studied here should be considered primary pests that can render unprotected sweet corn ears unmarketable.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page