Occurrence and biological characteristics of parasitoid phorids (Diptera: Phoridae) of the leaf-cutting ant Atta laevigata (Smith) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Porto Nacional, TO, Brazil

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:M. A. L. Braganca, Medeiros Z. C. S.
Journal:Neotropical Entomology
Date Published:May-June
ISBN Number:1519-566X
Accession Number:ZOOREC:ZOOR14212071839

The purpose of this study was to verify the occurrence of parasitism in Atta laevigata (Smith) by phorids in Porto Nacional, Tocantins, Brazil and to evaluate some biological characteristics of those flies. From October/2002 to September/2003, at 15-day intervals, 22 samplings were carried out (149.5 [plus or minus] 82.9 workers each) comprising 3,704 ants. In the laboratory, the ants were distributed in groups of five individuals per petri dish and maintained at temperature of 25 PC and 80 5% of RH. They were fed daily with a 50% honey solution until death. The total of 106 workers (2.8%), collected with or without load (plant fragment), were parasitized by phorids: 72 workers (68%) were parasitized by Apocephalus vicosae Disney, 28 individuals (26.4%) by Neodohrniphora erthali Brown, and six (5.6%) by Apocephalus attophilus Borgmeier. The higher parasitism rates by A. vicosae (3.9-5.4%) were observed during the dry season (June-August), while the parasitism by N. erthali was lower than 2.3% throughout the year. The bigger workers were parasitized by bigger parasitoid N. erthali or by parasitoid with larger number of larvae A. attophilus. The occurrence of three phorid species in Tocantins broadens the distribution of these flies in Brazil. The development of A. vicosae larva within the thorax of the host as well as the rupture between the ant pronotum and propleuron so that the emergence of the fly can take place are characteristics not yet described on parasitism of leaf-cutting ants by phorids.

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith