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Common Name: South American rice miner (SARM) Scientific name: Hydrellia wirthi Korytkowski
Adults are small, gray flies of about 1/10-inch in length. Eggs are laid on near the margin of rice leaves. Larvae are small, white or yellowish maggots (1/4-inch long). The brown puparium is elongate and tapered at both ends.
Damage caused by mite: The maggot injures rice, causing large, elongated lesions on the margins of emerging leaves. The maggots mine or rasp the leaf before it unfurls. As the leaf expands, yellow damaged areas are visible. Damaged leaves usually break off or are ragged in appearance. The maggot continues to feed on the whorl tissue and enters the stem of developing plants. Affected seedling plants are killed or plant growth is severely retarded.
Facts: SARM is an invasive insect pest of rice in the United States. Economic injury to rice plants tends to occur in young rice from emergence until the tillering stages, particularly in late planted fields (planted in May and June in central and southwest Louisiana, in June and July in north Louisiana) Because of damage to the rice plant whorl, SARM is called “whorl maggot”. It is common to find more than one maggot in a single stem.
What should you look for: Scout young rice for large, elongated lesions along the margins of emerging leaves. As the leaf expands, yellow damaged areas are visible. Damaged leaves usually break off or are ragged in appearance. Affected seedling plants are killed or plant growth is severely retarded. Pupation occurs inside the affected stem, near the leaf collar. Field damage is distributed in large patches either in the center or along the margins of the field. If you suspect a SARM infestation, contact your extension agent for damage assessment and to obtain the latest developments on this insect pest.
How you can manage SARM: The only recommendation available at this time is to avoid late planting of rice.