Field Release and Establishment of the Decapitating Fly Pseudacteon curvatus on Red Imported Fire Ants in Florida
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Decapitating phorid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are being studied as classical biological control agents of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Pseudacteon curvatus Borgmeier (Diptera: Phoridae) is a small decapitating fly that attacks small fire ant workers. We released a biotype of P. curvatus from Formosa, Argentina, at three sites near Gainesville, FL. Field releases were conducted in the spring and summer of 2003 and monitored monthly. Flies were discovered within 5 weeks at the spring site and then monthly thereafter. By late spring 2004, flies released at this site had expanded 1.6 km both north and south and about 0.8 km westward. Initially, we found no flies from the two summer 2003 releases but we were successful at finding them 8 months after release during spring 2004. This paper documents the first successful release(s) of P. curvatus on red imported fire ants in the United States.