Post-release host-specificity testing of Pseudacteon tricuspis, a phorid parasitoid of Solenopsis invicta fire ants
Inherent in any biological control program is the risk of nontarget effects. Pseudacteon tricuspis Borgmeier, a parasitoid phorid fly, has been introduced to the United States from South America as a potential biocontrol agent of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. We conducted tests of host specificity on introduced populations of P. tricuspis, which are attracted to alarm pheromones released by their hosts during events such as mound disturbances and interspecific interactions. We monitored disturbed mounds of S. invicta and its close congener, S. geminata(F.), during the expansion of P. tricuspis across north Florida and after populations had been established for ~3 years. We also tested host acceptance in established populations of P. tricuspis by offering trays containing S. invicta, S. geminata, and 14 additional ant species representing 12 different non-Solenopsis genera. Although P. tricuspis was commonly observed to hover over and attempt to oviposit on S. invicta, we never observed any parasitization attempts on any other ant species. As predicted by laboratory tests, released populations of P. tricuspis appear to be highly host specific and pose no obvious threat to nontarget species.
Biological control, Host specificity, Nontarget effects, Pseudacteon tricuspis, Solenopsis invicta
Morrison, Lloyd W., and Sanford D. Porter. "Post-release host-specificity testing of Pseudacteon tricuspis, a phorid parasitoid of Solenopsis invicta fire ants." BioControl 51, no. 2 (2006): 195.