, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 186-199,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 01 Dec 2010

Parasite Lost: Chemical and Visual Cues Used by Pseudacteon in Search of Azteca instabilis


An undescribed species of phorid fly (genus: Pseudacteon) parasitizes the ant Azteca instabilis F Smith, by first locating these ants through the use of both chemical and visual cues. Experiments were performed in Chiapas, Mexico to examine a) the anatomical source of phorid attractants, b) the specific chemicals produced that attract phorids, and c) the nature of the visual cues used by phorids to locate the ants. We determined that phorid-attracting chemicals were present within the dorsal section of the abdomen, the location of the pygidial gland. Further experiments indicate that a pygidial gland compound, 1-acetyl-2-methylcyclopentane, is at least partially responsible for attracting phorid flies to their host. Finally, although visual cues such as movement were important for host location, size and color of objects did not influence the frequency with which phorids attacked moving targets.