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General Pest Information

Common name: Rice seedling maggot, Corn seedling maggot
Scientific name: Atherigona oryzae

Host plants

Rice, corn, sorghum, wheat, sugarcane, and other grass species


Australia, Bangladesh, Caroline Islands, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Caledonia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Tonga


Larval feeding causes deadhearts, wherein the central tiller of the seedling is dry. It causes the plant to die causing missing hills in the field. Unlike the damage caused by stem borers, the dried tiller is rotten at the base when pulled. The infested leaves are ragged in appearance, discolored with transparent patches of damaged leaf tissue along the margins. Larval feeding damages rice seedlings less than one month old and damages corn seedlings after emergence.


Eggs are white, elongated, and 1.5 mm long. They are laid singly or in mass on the leaf blades of the rice/corn seedlings that are glued to the leaf blades by a sticky substance secreted by the female. Egg incubation is 3 days and hatching occurs in the morning.

The larva is very shiny-yellow and is maggot-like. The morning dew allows the maggot to move up and down the leaf blade to feed on the internal tissue of the plant. After passing through three larval instars in 6 to 10 days, the maggot pupates in the soil or within the base of the tillers or stem.

The pupa is small and brown in color. Pupation lasts about 8 days.

The adult fly is yellowish-gray and about 3 to 3.5 mm long. It has an angular head with deep-set antennae and two to three pairs of dorsal black spots located on the lower half of the yellow abdomen. The female flies are attracted to plants less than a month old, where they lay their eggs. They can lay as many as 100 individual eggs in her life span of 3 to 7 days. The adult can live for 10 to 12 days.
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