Phorid Flies

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Phorid flies are known to parasitize ants. The common means of parasitism, and until recently thought to be the only method, is as follows. A gravid female phorid fly seeks out foraging ants to parasitize, and most flies appear to specialize on specific species of ants or at least a group of congeners. Once found the female attacks host workers and injects eggs into their head. The egg hatches, feeds from the ant that is hosting it and eventually pupates. In many cases the fly emerges from its pupal case in such a way that it causes the ant's head to pop off.

Recently it was discovered there is another method of ant decapitation. Some adult phorids were observed sawing the heads off of injured Odontamachus ants. Presumably the ant heads are used for food by the adult flies.

Species

Sortable table
Ant Phorid citation
Odontomachus sp. Dohrniphora longirostrata Brown et al. 2015
Pachycondyla harpax Metopina pachycondylae
Solenopsis geminata Pseudacteon arcuatus Pereir et al. 2015
Solenopsis geminata Pseudacteon pesqueroi Pereir et al. 2015
Solenopsis geminata Pseudacteon plowesi Pereir et al. 2015
Solenopsis saevissima Pseudacteon fowleri Pereir et al. 2015
Solenopsis saevissima Pseudacteon pradei Pereir et al. 2015
Solenopsis saevissima Pseudacteon pesqueroi Pereir et al. 2015

Phorids

Pseudacteon

Pereir et al. (2015) - The genus Pseudacteon Coquillett (Diptera, Phoridae) has a worldwide distribution and comprises parasitic myrmecophilous species that decapitate host ants. Seventy three species are known in the genus with 41 of them occurring in the Neotropical Region.

References

  • Brown B, Kung G, Porras W (2015) A new type of ant-decapitation in the Phoridae (Insecta: Diptera). Biodiversity Data Journal 3: e4299. doi:10.3897/BDJ.3.e4299
  • Pereira, T. P. L., J. H. C. Delabie, and F. Bravo. 2015. New species and records of Pseudacteon Coquillett, 1907 (Diptera, Phoridae), parasitoids of the fire ant Solenopsis geminata group (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zootaxa. 4021:579-584. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4021.4.8