Environmental Entomology (1995) 24, 475-479

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Sanford D. Porter, Marcos A. Pesquero, Sofia Campiolo and Harold C. Fowler (1995)
Growth and development of Pseudacteon phorid fly maggots (Diptera: Phoridae) in the heads of Solenopsis fire ant workers (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Environmental Entomology 24 (2), 475-479
Abstract: We studied the growth and development of the parasitic phorid fly Pseudacteon litoralis Borgmeier in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. The fly apparently lays one egg in or on the thorax of a major worker. The newly hatched maggot migrates into the head of the ant where it develops through its last two instars in ~3 wk (23°C). Just before pupariation, an enzyme is apparently released that begins dissolving the cuticular membranes of the ant. The maggot then consumes the entire contents of the ant head, a process that usually results in decapitation of its living host. After pushing the mouth parts aside, the maggot pupariates within the empty head capsule, positioned so that the anterior three segments precisely fill the oral cavity. The pupal stage lasts ~3 wk. Results of this study indicate that it should be possible to rear this fly for release as a natural biological control agent of imported fire ants in the United States.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Database assignments for author(s): Sanford D. Porter

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Solenopsis invicta Brazil (south)
Pseudacteon litoralis (parasitoid) Solenopsis invicta Brazil (south)