Sex ratio variation as a function of host size in Pseudacteon flies (Diptera: Phoridae), parasitoids of Solenopsis fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • Morrison L
  • Porter S
  • Gilbert L
  • 31

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Abstract

Some Pseudacteon (Diptera: Phoridae) flies are parasitoids of Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) ant workers in North and South America. Laboratory studies of sex allocation revealed a pattern of sex ratio variation as a function of host size, with more females arising from larger hosts. Environmental sex determination is a possible mechanism for the observed pattern, and examination of Pseudacteon life history reveals several traits assumed to be important in models predicting conditions under which environmental sex determination is favoured. Sex allocation patterns of Pseudacteon are compared with theoretical predictions and empirical data from better-studied hymenopteran parasitoids that have haplodiploid sex determination. The pattern of sex ratio variation observed has important implications for biocontrol efforts of imported Solenopsis fire ants by the introduction of Pseudacteon parasitoids.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biocontrol
  • Brazil
  • Environmental sex determination
  • Parasite
  • Sex allocation
  • Texas

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Authors

  • Lloyd W. Morrison

  • Sanford D. Porter

  • Lawrence E. Gilbert

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