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Maize (also known as corn) has played an important role in human agriculture ever since its domestication by indigenous peoples of Mexico some 10,000 years ago. The crop is now planted across the world, including in China. However, several invasive pests, including the fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda, have threatened this crop and lowered yield. Eupeodes corollae, an endemic syrphid hoverfly, has been proposed as a biological control agent. Here, students will explore the antagonistic relationship between S. frugiperda and E. corollae, with both species feeding on larvae of the other species, and learn about type III functional responses. This Figure Set teaches about a reciprocally antagonistic ecological system, with systems and evolution being cross-cutting themes of the 4-Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) framework. In addition, this Figure Set also facilitates students' examination of environmental ethics (as pertaining to biological control agents) and agricultural ecosystems, allowing for students to learn about human-environment interactions.


This educational material was originally published in Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE), volume 19, in 2023.


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