, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 339-344

Killing power of the red imported fire ant [Hym.: Formicidae]: a key predator of the boll weevil [Col.: Curculionidae]

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Abstract

The red imported fire ant,Solenopsis invicta Buren, was identified as a key predator of the boll weevil,Anthonomus grandis Boheman. Although key factor analysis does not guarantee that the key factor is the causative agent, the evidence of boll weevil mortality was so clear that the fire ant could be identified as causing the mortality. Ant predation on immature boll weevils during the summer of 1981 averaged 84%. When this predation was combined with other natural mortality factors, the weevil population density throughout the season never exceeded levels that required control measures.

Résumé

La fourmi rouge importée,Solenopsis invicta Buren, a été identifiée comme prédateur majeur du charançon du cotonAnthonomus grandis Boheman. Bien que l'analyse des facteurs clés n'assure pas en soi que cet agent soit la cause directe des mortalités observées, l'action prédatrice des fourmis rouges fut telle que leur impact sur la mortalité des charançons a pu être clairement mis en évidence. Le taux de mortalité des larves d'A. grandis attribuable àS. invicta a été de 84% en moyenne pendant l'été 1981. Cette valeur, associée aux autres facteurs de mortalité naturelle, a permis de maintenir les populations de charançons en deçà des seuils nécessitant des mesures de contrôle.

This research was conducted in cooperation with SEA-USDA and supported in part by EPA grant No. R-806277030-01, titled “Development of Comprehensive, Unified, Economically, and Environmentally Sound Systems of Integrated pest Management for Major Crops” and Project H-2591 of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. Approved for publication as TA 18333 by Director, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.