Larvae of 11 species of picture-winged flies (Diptera: Ulididae) are known to feed on corn plants (Zea mays L. ) in the western hemisphere. Larvae emerge from eggs deposited in leaf axils and corn silk to feed mostly within ears, but the primary versus secondary nature (i.e., pest status) of their infestation is not known for all of these species. Choice and no-choice tests by using a split-plot design 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. The main treatments (uninfested ears and ears experimentally infested with either Spodoptera frugiperda [Lepidoptera: Noctuidae] or E. eluta larvae) were applied at first silk. The subtreatments (C. massyla, E. eluta, or E. stigmatias adults caged on ears) were applied 7 d later and maintained for 10 d. All three fly species were reared from uninfested and experimentally 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 ears that were preinfested with S. frugiperda compared with uninfested ears suggesting either preference for or greater survival within ears previously infested by S. frugiperda. Fewer E. eluta and E. stigmatias emerged from ears preinfested with E. eluta in no-choice field 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.
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