Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 21, 2004
Publication Date: April 8, 2004
Citation: Valles, S. M., Oi, D. H., Briano, J. A., Williams, D. F. 2004. Simultaneous Detection of Vairimopha invictae (Microsporidia: Burenellidae) and Thelohania solenopsae (Microsporidia: Thelohaniidae) in Fire Ants by PCR. Florida Entomologist. v. 87(1). p. 85-87. Technical Abstract: The red imported fire ant was introduced into the United States in the 1930s and currently infests about 300 million acres. It causes significant economic losses in livestock and agricultural production and poses a serious threat to human health. Annually, 50% of people in infested areas are stung, occasionally with fatal consequences. A promising biological control agent of the red imported fire ant is Vairimorpha invictae, an intracellular parasite. Development of Vairimorpha invictae as a biological control agent will depend on elucidation of the life cycle. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL, have developed a molecular technique (PCR) capable of detecting Vairimorpha invictae at all stages of its development. This method is a significant improvement upon existing methods and will aid the discovery of the life cycle and its subsequent dissemination.