Submitted to: Biocontrol
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/13/2005
Publication Date: 4/1/2006
Citation: Vazquez, R.J., Porter, S.D., Briano, J.A. 2006. Field release and establishment of the decapitating fly Pseudacteon curvatus on red imported fire ants in Florida. Biocontrol. 51:207-216. Interpretive Summary: Pseudacteon curvatus is a parasite of imported fire ants. Colonies of red imported fire ants in the U.S. cause a wide variety of problems including economic losses in agriculture, problems for livestock, and medical concerns to people, especially those with allergic to the stings. Scientists from the USDA-ARS laboratory in Gainesville, Florida and from a USDA-ARS South American biological control laboratory in Buenos Aires, Argentina cooperated to release a new strain of Pseudacteon curvatus from Formosa, Argentina that attacks red imported fire ants. Pseudacteon curvatus flies were released under a permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and a Finding of No Significant Impact issued by the USDA-ARS. Pseudacteon curvatus flies were released at 3 sites in Florida. Monthly monitoring have confirmed that Psuedacteon curvatus is well established on populations of red imported fire ants at all three sites. The release and establishment of these flies will be a benefit to people throughout the southeastern U.S. by providing another means to control populations of red imported fire ants without the use of chemical baits.
Technical Abstract: Decapitating phorid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are being studied as classical biological control agents of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pseudacteon curvatus Borgmeier is a small decapitating fly that attacks small fire ant workers. We released a biotype of P. curvatus from Formosa, Argentina, at several sites near Gainesville, FL. Field releases were conducted in the spring and summer of 2003 and monitored monthly. Flies were collected and identified within 5 weeks at the first site and then monthly thereafter. By late spring 2004, flies released at the first site had expanded 1.6 km both north and south and about 0.8 km westward. Initially, we found no flies from the two summer 2003 releases but we were successful at finding them 8 months after release during spring 2004. This is the first successful establishment of P. curvatus on red imported fire ants in the United States.