Submitted to: Society for Invertebrate Pathology Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Microsporidia of the genera Thelohania and Vairimorpha are pathogenic to two species of fire ants in South and North America and are being evaluated as potential biological control agents of imported fire ants in the United States. Thelohania solenopsae and Vairimorpha invictae have been described from the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (type host) in Brazil. Unnamed species of Thelohania and Vairimorpha have been reported from the black imported fire ant Solenopsis richteri in Argentina and Uruguay and S. invicta in the United States. The different geographical isolates of Thelohania and Vairimorpha cannot be distinguished from each other by light-microscopic and ultrastructural observations. We suggest grouping them into T. solenopsae and Vairimorpha invictae species complexes, respectively, until their taxonomic positions are resolved. We present comparative molecular studies (sequence comparisons of the 16S rRNA genes) designed to clarify the relationship of the members of these species complexes.