Cob Flies, Megaselia spp. (Diptera: Phoridae), in Sweet Corn

cob fly ovipositing

Phorid flies (Diptera), also known as humpback flies or scuttle flies for their appearance and behavior, are an extremely diverse group of flies that are saprophagous (feed on decaying organic matter), parasitic, or phytophagous (feed on plants). Within the Phoridae family, the genus Megaselia is also extremely diverse, with more than 1400 described species, many very similar in appearance. The name “cob fly” was given to a Megaselia spp. that attacked corn in Texas. This 5-page fact sheet written by David Owens, Gregg S. Nuessly, Robert Beiriger, and Nicholas Larsen and published by the Department of Entomology and Nematology describes the distribution of this pest, ways to distinguish it from other similar corn ear pests, its life cycle, the damage it causes, and some strategies for management.

Cornsilk Fly (suggested common name), Euxesta stigmatias Loew (Insecta: Diptera: Otitidae) (EENY224/IN381)

Chaetopsis massyla on corn leaf.‘Cornsilk flies’ are attractive, medium to dark metallic green to black colored flies with distinctive wing patterns and wing flapping behavior. They are commonly found throughout Florida’s agricultural communities. Their normally saprophytic life style belies their destructive nature when it comes to their preference for sweet corn ears. Four species of ‘cornsilk flies’ are known to attack corn in Florida: Chaetopsis massyla (Walker), Euxesta annonae (Fabricius), Euxesta eluta Loew, and Euxesta stigmatias Loew. This 8-page fact sheet was written by Gregg S. Nuessly and John L. Capinera, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, April 2013. #UFBugs