Submitted to: Entomological News
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2004
Publication Date: 1/13/2005
Citation: Cook, J.L., Calcaterra, L., Nunez, L. 2005. First record of caenocholax fenyesi (strepsiptera: myrmecolacidae) parasitizing solenopsis invicta (hymenoptera: formicidae) in argentina, with a discussion of its distribution and host range. Entomological News. 115(2): 61, March and April 2004
Interpretive Summary: The parasitoid strepsiteran Caenocholax fenyesi is another potential candidate for biological control of imported fire ants in the United States. However, C. fenyesi has not been considered a good candidate agent because of its complex life cycle. The first host association between C. fenyesi and the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, was reported in 1992 in Texas, USA. This host association was considered as a crossover host. With the report of C. fenyesi females in cricket in Mexico in 2003 and the recent discovery of males parasitizing Solenopsis invicta in Argentina that we reported here, the potential of this parasitoid can be evaluated. Meanwhile, this new record of C. fenyesi occurring in northeastern Argentina suggests that its males must be hosted by more than one ant species, unless C. fenyesi constitutes a complex of cryptic species.
Technical Abstract: The first record of Caenocholax fenyesi parasitizing the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in South America is documented. Caenocholax fenyesi males were collected from colonies of S. invicta in northeastern Argentina. This record helps to clarify the occurrence and host utilization of C. fenyesi in the United States, where S. invicta is an invasive exotic species. This record, along with other recent reports, suggests that C. fenyesi males are generalist parasites, not utilizing a narrow host range, as do most known strepsipterans. However, the potential presence of cryptic species is an alternate explanation.