Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 317–322 | Cite as

Biological notes on a fungus-growing ant, Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki (Hymenoptera, Formicidae, Attini) attacked by a diverse community of parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera, Diapriidae)

Research Article


A number of wasps in the family Diapriidae, subfamily Diapriinae (Proctotrupoidea), are parasitoids that specialize on ant larvae. These wasps are abundant and diverse in the Neotropics, but little is known about their biology. We studied parasitism rates by an array of diapriine wasps that attack the larvae of fungus-growing ants, Trachymyrmex cf. zeteki, in a single population (near Gamboa, Panamá). Relatively little is known about the biology and natural history of these ants, so we also present data on colony size and nest architecture. We excavated 136 colonies in central Panamá from June to September 2006, and 20 nests from July 2009. We reared six wasp morphotypes; two of them in the genus Mimopriella Masner and Garcia, one Oxypria Kieffer, two Szelenyiopria Fabritius and one Acanthopria Ashmead. The mean intensity of larval parasitism per ant colony was 33.9% (2006), and its prevalence across all ant populations was 27.2% (2006 and 2009). Parasitism rates were not positively correlated with host colony size. A single case of super-parasitism was documented in which two Oxypria males were reared from the same host larva.


Diapriinae Fungus-growing ants Parasitoid wasps Adaptive radiations Trachymyrmex 



We are grateful to Adam Smith, Simon Tierney and two anonymous reviewers for help with comments on the manuscript; to the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente de la República de Panamá for research, collecting, and export permits; and to the rest of the staff of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) for logistical support. BPO received financial support from the Internship Program of the Office of Academic Programs at STRI; HFM was supported by a Post-doctoral Fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution, and a Postdoctoral fellowship from the Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Panamá. We gratefully acknowledge additional funding from the F. H. Levinson Fund, and general research funds from STRI to WTW.


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© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteAncónRepublic of Panama
  2. 2.Museo de La Plata, División EntomologíaUniversidad Nacional de La PlataBuenos AiresArgentina

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