Acanthopria and Mimopriella parasitoid wasps (Diapriidae) attack Cyphomyrmex fungus-growing ants (Formicidae, Attini)
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- Fernández-Marín, H., Zimmerman, J.K. & Wcislo, W.T. Naturwissenschaften (2006) 93: 17. doi:10.1007/s00114-005-0048-z
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New World diapriine wasps are abundant and diverse, but the biology of most species is unknown. We provide the first description of the biology of diapriine wasps, Acanthopria spp. and Mimopriella sp., which attack the larvae of Cyphomyrmex fungus-growing ants. In Puerto Rico, the koinobiont parasitoids Acanthopria attack Cyphomyrmex minutus, while in Panama at least four morphospecies of Acanthopria and one of Mimopriella attack Cyphomyrmex rimosus. Of the total larvae per colony, 0–100% were parasitized, and 27–70% of the colonies per population were parasitized. Parasitism rate and colony size were negatively correlated for C. rimosus but not for C. minutus. Worker ants grasped at, bit, and in some cases, killed adult wasps that emerged in artificial nests or tried to enter natural nests. Parasitoid secondary sex ratios were female-biased for eclosing wasps, while field collections showed a male-biased sex ratio. Based on their abundance and success in attacking host ants, these minute wasps present excellent opportunities to explore how natural enemies impact ant colony demography and population biology.