Parasitoid phorid flies of leaf-cutting ants are negatively affected by loss of forest cover
BARRERA, C.A.; BECKER, E.L.; ELIZALDE, L.; QUEIROZ, J.M.
ENTOMOLOGIA EXPERIMENTALIS ET APPLICATA
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Año: 2017 vol. 164 p. 66 - 77
Habitat fragmentation can have a high impact on parasitoid?ant interactions. Phorid flies are amongthe most important groups of natural enemies of leaf-cutting ants. We studied the effects of loss inforest cover upon phorids of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex niger Smith (Hymenoptera: Formicidae:Attini) in a fragmented area in the Southeastern Atlantic Forest, Brazil. We sampled 10 forestfragments, five large (>75 ha) and five small (1 000 ha). We marked 1?5 colonies of A. niger in the interior of each forest location. At each nest,we collected all of the phorids in interaction with the worker ants for a period of 15 min. We thencollected ca. 200 worker ants, which we maintained in the laboratory for rearing phorids from them.We identified three phorid genera ? Apocephalus, Myrmosicarius, and Neodohrniphora ? which weboth observed in the field and reared in the laboratory. The abundance and parasitism percentagewere significantly greater in continuous forest sites than in forest fragments, whereas there were nosignificant differences between fragments of different sizes. These results provide further evidence forthe effects of habitat size on the phorid-Acromyrmex system in a tropical rain forest, based onthe abundance of parasitoids both as adults in the field and as reared immature phorids in thelaboratory.