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1 December 2012 First Record of an Encyrtid Wasp (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) as a True Primary Parasitoid of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
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Numerous cases of associations of encyrtid wasps with ants have already been reported. In the majority of these cases, however, wasps are associated only indirectly with ants (interference associations) through primary parasitism of the trophobionts (Coccoidea), which are exploited and protected by ants. Suspected direct parasitism cases are unusual and no direct attack of encyrtids on ants has ever been demonstrated. Here we provide both a revised list of all known cases of associations between encyrtid wasps and ants, and a report of the first record of a true primary encyrtid parasitoid of ants. Of two colonies of the arboreal ponerine ant, Pachycondyla goeldii (Forel), examined from French Guiana, one had 3 pupae parasitized by males and females of a gregarious, minute encyrtid wasp species, identified as Blanchardiscus pollux Noyes, and 2 other cocoons presented evidence of pararasitism. This first host record for the genus Blanchardiscus, which has always been placed near other genera that parasitize scale-insects, supports a hypothesis of a shift from a myrmecophilous host to an ant host. Our findings increase to 9 the number of parasitoid wasp families known to attack ants as primary hosts. A closer examination of other arboreal ants, particularly those involved in ant-garden building and nest weaving, will certainly yield new ant-parasitoid associations.

Gabriela Pérez-Lachaud, John Noyes, and Jean-Paul Lachaud "First Record of an Encyrtid Wasp (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) as a True Primary Parasitoid of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)," Florida Entomologist 95(4), (1 December 2012).
Published: 1 December 2012

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