Diurnal Patterns of Ovipositional Activity of Pseudacteon tricuspis and Pseudacteon curvatus (Diptera: Phoridae) in Alabama and Host Location Behavior of Pseudacteon curvatus (Diptera: Phoridae) in AlabamaT
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Entomology and Plant Pathology
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There are more than 20 species of Pseudacteon spp. (Diptera: Phoridae) that parasitize Solenopsis spp. (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in their native South America. In South America, several Pseudacteon species coexist and occupy the same niches competing for imported fire ants of different sizes oin which to lay eggs in, , imported fire ants engaged in different activities, and different periods of diurnal activity. This thesis presents the first documentation of diurnal patterns of ovipositional activity in Pseudacteon tricuspis and Pseudacteon curvatus in Alabama. Data were collected in Macon and Talladega Counties, Alabama from 2002-2005. Peak activity of Pseudacteon tricuspis in Macon County was found to be during mid-day but P. tricuspis extended activity and were still active 12 hours following sunrise. Similar mid-day activity in P. tricuspis in South America has been documented. Interestingly, P. tricuspis activity 12 hours following sunrise occupies the same time niche that Pseudacteon litoralis exhibits in South America. Pseudacteon curvatus was found to havehas a bi-modal pattern of activity in Talladega County. The two peak times of activity occurred on either side of the peak activity time for P. tricuspis in Macon County. This suggests that P. tricuspis and P. curvatus may be compatible species in Alabama since they occupy relatively different activity times. This thesis also presents host location behavior of P. curvatus in Alabama. Data from this thesis provide evidence that P. curvatus are more attracted to host imported fire ants engaged in an activities such as or dealing with a mound disturbance rather than imported fire ants engaging simply in foraging activity. At the time that data were collected for this thesis, only P. tricuspis and P. curvatus were established in Alabama and the populations of the two fly species did not overlap. Data for these two fly species that occur in Alabama are presented.