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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGY, GENOMICS, AND INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE ANTS

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects

Title: Host specificity testing of the Solenopsis fire ant (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) pathogen, Kneallhazia (=Thelohania) solenopsae (Microsporidia:Thelohaniidae), in Florida

Authors
item OI, DAVID
item VALLES, STEVEN

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 3, 2012
Publication Date: March 4, 2012
Citation: Oi, D.H., Valles, S.M. 2012. Host specificity testing of the Solenopsis fire ant (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) pathogen, Kneallhazia (=Thelohania) solenopsae (Microsporidia:Thelohaniidae), in Florida. Florida Entomologist. 95(2):509-512.

Interpretive Summary: Studies were conducted by scientists at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology to ascertain the host specificity of the fire ant pathogen Kneallhazia solenopsae on ants in the U.S. Their objective was to indicate possible transmission to native and non-target species. In addition, there was interest to determine the potential of K. solenopsae to control other pest ants. The pathogen was not detected in 47 samples that contained 9 non-red imported fire ant species and a total of 308 ants. Ants were collected from three field sites where K. solenopsae was present at the time of sampling. Infections also were not detected in 23 laboratory colonies of six, non-red imported fire ant species that were inoculated with K. solenopsae. Thus, K. solenopsae transmission to other ants was not evident in the field and laboratory testing.

Technical Abstract: Post-entry host specificity testing was conducted on ants in Florida for the fire ant pathogen Kneallhazia solenopsae to determine transmission potential to native and non-target species. In addition, there was interest to assess the potential of K. solenopsae to control other pest ants. The pathogen was not detected in 47 samples that contained 9 non-S. invicta species and a total of 308 ants. Ants were collected from three field sites where K. solenopsae was present at the time of sampling. These sites were either at or within 0.7 km of an area where K. solenopsae was observed 12 years earlier. Infections also were not detected in 23 laboratory colonies of six, non-S. invicta ant species that were inoculated with K. solenopsae. Thus, K. solenopsae transmission to non-S. invicta ants was not evident in our field and laboratory testing.

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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