Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/4/2004
Publication Date: 12/15/2004
Citation: Valles, S.M., Briano, J.A. 2004. Presence of Thelohania solenopsae and Vairimorpha invictae in South American Populations of Solenopsis invicta. Florida Entomologist. 87(4): 625-627. Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant was introduced into the United States in the 1930s and currently infests about 300 million acres. It causes approximately $6 billion in damage annually and can pose a serious threat to human health. Recently, a promising biological control agent (Thelohania solenopsae) of the red imported fire ant was discovered in the US and found to reduce fire ant populations. Unfortunately, T. solenopsae is limited to multi-queen colonies in the US. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL, and South American Biological Control Laboratory, Argentina, discovered that T. solenopsae infects multi- and single-queen colonies of the fire ant in its native South American range. Therefore, it may be possible to initiate a self-sustaining infection of T. solenopsae in fire ants in the US.
Technical Abstract: Thelohania solenopsae- and Vairimorpha invictae-infected Solenopsis invicta from South America were genotyped at the Gp-9 locus to determine their social form. Unlike counterparts in the United States, monogyne nests are infected with both microsporidia species in South America.