Insectes Sociaux

, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 121–132 | Cite as

Ectaheteromorph ants also host highly diverse parasitic communities: a review of parasitoids of the Neotropical genus Ectatomma

Review Article

Abstract

Despite the diversity of ant-myrmecophile associations, there are few examples of primary parasitism of ants and these are poorly documented, particularly in genera with only a few species such as the genus Ectatomma. We identified 18 associations that involve at least 16 taxa of primary parasitoids distributed in three families belonging to two invertebrate classes, and five of the 15 valid Ectatomma species. Among these, we report for the first time an endoparasitoid fly (probably a phorid) that attacks E. ruidum larvae and constitutes the second record of ant-larva endoparasitism by a dipteran. We provide a brief account of the interactions of these organisms with their hosts and their possible impact at the colonial or population level. Ectatomma ants, though being a small group, serve as a remarkable resource for the evolution of a wide variety of parasitoid organisms which, comparatively, are much more important than those associated with better-studied ant genera such as Myrmica or Formica. Considering the lack of studies dedicated to their parasites and parasitoids, the available information (almost limited to the three most studied Ectatomma species) suggests that, in spite of both their carnivorous diet and the aggressiveness typical of their workers, the diversity of these associations with Ectatomma might be much more important than previously expected. We stress the urgency of performing detailed inventories focused on these associations, not only for the genus Ectatomma, but for all the poorly studied ant communities (ectaheteromorphs, poneromorphs, arboreal ants) and endangered species.

Keywords

Host-parasitoid interactions Ectatomma Phoridae Eucharitidae Mermithidae Inventory 

Supplementary material

40_2015_390_MOESM1_ESM.docx (98 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 99 kb)

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Copyright information

© International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Conservación de la BiodiversidadEl Colegio de la Frontera SurChetumalMexico
  2. 2.Centre de Recherches sur la Cognition AnimaleUniversité de Toulouse, Université Paul SabatierToulouse Cedex 09France
  3. 3.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 5169, CRCAToulouse Cedex 09France

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