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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Parasitoid Case History: An Evaluation of Methods Used to Assess Host Ranges of Fire Ant Decapitating Flies

Authors
item Porter, Sanford
item Gilbert, Lawrence - UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS

Submitted to: International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 25, 2005
Publication Date: September 12, 2005
Citation: Porter, S.D., Gilbert, L.E. 2005. Parasitoid Case History: An Evaluation of Methods Used to Assess Host Ranges of Fire Ant Decapitating Flies. International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods. 634-650. Davos, Switzerland. September 12-16,2005.

Interpretive Summary: This paper is part of a symposium which addresses the problem of how to predict host ranges of foreign biological control agents before their release in the field. The first several papers in this symposium discuss factors that affect the efficiency and success of laboratory host range tests. This paper, written by a scientist at the USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida and a scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, presents an evaluation of how well those factors applied to investigations of host ranges of fire ant decapitating flies in the genus Pseudacteon. We initially discuss the nature of the fire ant problem and the need for effective self-sustaining biocontrol agents. We briefly review the biology of decapitating flies, the overall results of our host range tests, and the current status of field releases of these biocontrol agents. We conclude by discussing how well the recommendations of the three initial papers about 1) statistical procedures, 2) biotypes and cryptic species, and 3) experimental design, plus a recent book on the subject of host range testing, apply to our experiences with fire ant decapitating flies. The intended impact of this symposium is to improve the effectiveness of host range testing and therefore the safety of self-sustaining biological control agents released in the United States and other countries.

Technical Abstract: The first several papers in this section have discussed factors that affect the efficiency and success of laboratory host range tests. This paper presents an evaluation of how well those factors applied to our investigations of host ranges of fire ant decapitating flies in the genus Pseudacteon (Diptera: Phoridae). We initially discuss the nature of the fire ant problem (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Solenopsis) and the need for effective self-sustaining biocontrol agents. We briefly review the biology of Pseudacteon decapitating flies, the overall results of our host range tests, and the current status of field releases of these biocontrol agents. We conclude by discussing how well the recommendations of the three initial papers about 1) statistical procedures, 2) biotypes and cryptic species, and 3) experimental design, plus a recent book on the subject of host range testing, apply to our experiences with fire ant decapitating flies.

Last Modified: 12/26/2014
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