Chemical mimicry in a parasitoid (Hymenoptera: Eucharitidae) of fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
- Cite this article as:
- Vander Meer, R.K., Jouvenaz, D.P. & Wojcik, D.P. J Chem Ecol (1989) 15: 2247. doi:10.1007/BF01014113
- 121 Downloads
A wasp (Orasema sp.) parasitic on the fire ant,Solenopsis invicta Buren, develops to the adult stage within the ant colony, where wasp larvae are ectoparasitic on ant pupae. This phase of the parasite's life cycle requires a mechanism of integration into the host colony. Gas Chromatographic profiles of hexane soaks of various stages of the parasite and host suggest that during development within the ant colony the parasite acquires the colony odor of the host through a passive mechanism, based on simple contact and other social interactions. No parasite-specific components were observed. After leaving the host nest as adults, the parasite biosynthesizes a parasite-specific cuticular compound, while retaining residual amounts of the host acquired components. This complicated scenario is consistent with current knowledge of nestmate recognition and the preferential treatment of ant workers to their brood.