, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 115-128

Allomermis solenopsi n. sp. (Nematoda: Mermithidae) parasitising the fire ant Solenopsi s invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Argentina

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Abstract

Allomermis solenopsi n. sp. (Mermithidae: Nematoda) is described from the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Argentina. Diagnostic characters of the new species include stiff and erect processes on the surface of the mature egg, small female amphids, extension of the latero-medial rows of male genital papillae beyond the middle rows, an obliquely truncate spicule tip and a ventrally swollen male terminus. This is the first record of Allomermis Steiner, 1924 from South America and the first host record for members of this genus. Previous records of mermithids from Solenopsis spp. are summarised. The placement in Allomermis was confirmed by molecular analyses based on nuclear 18S ribosomal DNA sequences, the first such molecular framework for the Mermithidae. The possible life-cycle of the parasite is discussed, with the aim of using A. solenopsi as a biological control agent for fire ants in the United States.