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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Observations on the Sexual Caste of the Fire Ant Parasite Solenopsis Daguerrei (Hymeniptera: Formicidae)

Authors
item Calcaterra, Luis - USDA-ARS-SABCL
item Briano, Juan - USDA-ARS-SABCL
item Williams, David
item Oi, David

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: February 9, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The workerless parasitic ant, Solenopsis daguerrei (Santschi) discovered in Argentina in 1930, has been considered a potential candidate for the biological control of imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren and Solenopsis richteri Forel, in the United States since the 1970 s. Observations were made in April to June, 1999 and February to May, 2000 in Argentina on 15 field colonies of S. richteri parasitized with S. daguerrei. The colonies were collected in San Eladio, Argentina, returned to the laboratory in Buenos Aires and held in buckets placed in an outdoor walk-in cage. When weather conditions and time of day were acceptable (29.2 C, and high RH), in the afternoon sexuals of S. daguerrei flew out of the host nests. A total of 756 sexuals was captured with an aspirator separated by sex. Females were kept overnight in small plastic (ventilated) tubes with moist tissue paper to discover if they lost their wings. A sample of these females was sacrificed and dissected to determine if the spermatheca contained sperm, a confirmation of insemination. The results indicated that most females of S. daguerrei flew out of their host colonies during favorable weather conditions. The large majority were already mated, and 62.3% lost their wings after the flights. Some females remained in their host colonies, only 40% were inseminated, and none lost their wings. The artificial initiation of parasitism was unsuccessful; however, those parasite queens yoked to host queens survived longer. Additional research is required to determine the efficacy of artificial initiation of imported fire ants with this parasite.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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