Florida Entomologist (2015) 98, 1101-1105

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Steven M. Valles, James K. Wetterer and Sanford D. Porter (2015)
The red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the West Indies: Distribution of natural enemies and a possible test bed for release of self-sustaining biocontrol agents
Florida Entomologist 98 (4), 1101-1105
Abstract: Sample collections of Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) were taken from 20 islands of the West Indies and evaluated for the presence of key pathogens and parasites of this invasive pest ant. We hypothesized that bottleneck events during the introduction of this ant species in the West Indies would have resulted in populations devoid, or nearly so, of natural enemies. Monogyne and polygyne social forms were found throughout the islands surveyed with monogyny being more prevalent (65%) compared with polygyny (35%). Among 254 samples, only 25 (~10%) tested positive for the presence of pathogens or parasites. The microsporidian Kneallhazia solenopsae was the most prevalent pathogen detected; it was found in 20 colonies. A second microsporidian species, Vairimorpha invictae, was shown to be present in a polygyne sample collected from St. Croix—the first detection of this pathogen outside South America. Similarly, Solenopsis invicta densovirus (SiDNV) was detected in one polygyne sample from Anguilla. SiDNV is not found in S. invicta U.S. populations, so this detection also represents the first geographic discovery outside of South America. Two species of Pseudacteon decapitating flies were found to have dispersed into the Bahamas. Utilization of the islands of the West Indies for release, establishment, and impact assessment of S. invicta natural enemies is discussed.
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Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Steven M. Valles, Sanford D. Porter

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
surveys/distribution/isolation


Pest and/or beneficial records:

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


Solenopsis invicta Bahamas
Solenopsis invicta Jamaica
Solenopsis invicta Puerto Rico
Solenopsis invicta Trinidad and Tobago
Solenopsis invicta Anguilla
Solenopsis invicta Antigua and Barbuda
Solenopsis invicta Aruba and Curacao
Solenopsis invicta Cayman Islands
Solenopsis invicta Montserrat
Solenopsis invicta Saint Kitts and Nevis
Solenopsis invicta Turks and Caicos Isl.
Solenopsis invicta United States Virgin Isl.
Solenopsis invicta British Virgin Islands
Solenopsis invicta Saint Martin
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta Bahamas
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta Trinidad and Tobago
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta Anguilla
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta Saint Kitts and Nevis
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta United States Virgin Isl.
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta British Virgin Islands
Kneallhazia solenopsae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta Saint Martin
Vairimorpha invictae (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta United States Virgin Isl.
Solenopsis invicta virus 1 (entomopathogen) Solenopsis invicta Bahamas