A New Host Association of Commoptera solenopsidis (Diptera: Phoridae) with the Ant Pheidole dentata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Behavioral Observations

Marc A. Seid, Brian V. Brown

Abstract


Phorid flies are well known myrmecophilic organisms and are often parasitoids of ants. In some cases, phorids live commensally with ants, with the colony offering protection and/or feeding opportunities. In this study we examined the phorid Commoptera solenopsidis in association with a new host species, Pheidole dentata. An ethogram was performed describing the fly and its association with different P. dentata castes. The flies spent most of their time performing grooming behaviors, allogrooming ants, or self-grooming and most commonly were associated with the major workers. We discuss the significance of this association as well as the possible evolutionary driving force behind C. solenopsidis having multiple hosts.

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