Specialized parasitoid attracted to a pheromone of ants

  • FEENER, JR D
  • JACOBS L
  • SCHMIDT J
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Abstract

Apocephalus paraponerae (Diptera: Phoridae) parasitizes workers of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Central America. When female parasitoids locate fighting or injured workers of this species, they deposit one or more eggs in them and feed from wounds. Male parasitoids are also attracted to hosts for feeding and to locate females for mating. In a series of experiments it was demonstrated that males and females of this parasitoid were attracted to two products of the mandibular glands of P. clavata, 4-methyl-3-heptanone and 4-methyl-3-heptanol. These compounds are produced in the mandibular glands of numerous ant species and serve as alarm pheromones in some species. Phorid parasitoids of ants may routinely use host-produced pheromones to locate hosts, and behavioural interactions between ants and their parasitoids may have shaped the use of these pheromone systems by both interactants.

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Authors

  • DONALD H. FEENER, JR

  • LUCIA F. JACOBS

  • JUSTIN O. SCHMIDT

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