Nutritional ecology of parasitic Pseudacteon phorid flies: Natural enemies of imported fire ants, Solenopsis spp

Monday, November 17, 2014: 10:36 AM
B117-119 (Oregon Convention Center)
Olufemi Ajayi , Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Henry Fadamiro , Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Pseudacteon phorid flies are introduced biological control agents of the imported fire ants, Solenopsis spp. in the southern USA. However, little is known about their nutritional ecology, specifically their ability to utilize nectar sources in the field. To determine if they utilize floral nectar sources in the field, phorid flies  (i.e. P. curvatus) were collected from sites where they had been previously released in Alabama. Field-collected flies were then analyzed for body sugar content using a series of biochemical tests (i.e. anthrone tests). The ability of phorid flies to feed on the nectar of select flowering plants found in the release sites was also determined in greenhouse cage studies. The results identify suitable floral nectar sources for phorid flies, which could play a role in conservation biological control of fire ants.