Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects
Title: Fire ant microsporidia acquired by parasitoid flies of fire ants Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 12, 2010
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The microsporidium Kneallhazia (formerly Thelohania) solenopsae and parasitoid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are natural enemies of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pseudacteon flies oviposit into adult fire ants, where maggots that eclose from eggs migrate to the ants’ head, pupate, and eventually decapitate the host. Fire ant decapitating flies that developed in fire ants infected with K. solenopsae also acquired the pathogen. K. solenopsae was found in 51% of pooled samples, which included three species of flies: Pseudacteon obtusus, Pseudacteon cultellatus, and Pseudacteon curvatus. Field collected P. curvatus screened individually for infection had a prevalence of 12% which was not correlated to infection prevalence in fire ant populations. Attempts to demonstrate that K. solenopsae is vectored by the flies has thus far resulted in no transmission. Not all flies reared from infected ants acquire the microsporidium. In a sampling of P. curvatus at adult eclosion from infected ants, 24% (n=50) had K. solenopsae. K. solenopsae spores have been observed in adult flies reared from infected ants, however vegetative stages have yet to be found in fly tissue.