Journal of Economic Entomology (1999) 92, 110-114

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Sanford D. Porter and Leeanne E. Alonso (1999)
Host specificity of fire ant decapitating flies (Diptera : Phoridae) in laboratory oviposition tests
Journal of Economic Entomology 92 (1), 110-114
Abstract: Host specificities of 3 species of Pseudacteon decapitating flies (P. litoralis Borgmeier, P. tricuspis Borgmeier, P. wasmanni Schmitz) were tested in quarantine facilities in Gainesville, FL. Female flies from Brazil were placed into test trays containing either red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren; tropical fire ants, Solenopsis geminata Forel; or native ants from 6 other genera (Crematogaster, Pheidole, Aphaenogaster, Neivamyrmex, Forelius, Camponotus). Tests lasted 60-90 min. The 3 species of flies tested were all at least 15 times more likely to attack their natural host, S. invicta, than they were to attack the native fire ant, S. geminata. More than 200 larvae resulted from numerous attacks on S. invicta workers. No larvae resulted from the few possible attacks on S. geminata or the other species of ants that were tested. We induced several P. tricuspis to attack a few S. geminata workers by mixing these workers in with freeze-killed S. invicta workers. One adult fly emerged from these attacks, demonstrating that P. tricuspis can develop in S. geminata workers. This indicates that the field release of P. tricuspis poses some risk to native fire ants; however, the extremely low rates of attack on S. geminata in the laboratory and in the field indicate that this risk would be minimal. The argument is made that this small risk is acceptable because, among other things, native fire ants are under much more risk from expanding populations of imported fire ants than they would be from imported Pseudacteon flies.
(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:
non-target effects/fate in environm.

Pest and/or beneficial records:

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

Pseudacteon litoralis (parasitoid) Solenopsis invicta
Pseudacteon tricuspis (parasitoid) Solenopsis invicta
Pseudacteon wasmanni (parasitoid) Solenopsis invicta