Phoridae (Diptera) have widespread impacts on insect communities by limiting host ant behavior. However, phorid—ant interactions may vary with habitat or environmental conditions. Three Pseudacteon species parasitize Azteca instabilis Fr. Smith, a common ant in coffee agroecosystems, and limit A. instabilis foraging, indirectly benefiting other insects. However, little is known about how phorid abundance, behavior, and effects change with environmental conditions. In shaded coffee systems, coffee (Coffea arabica L. ) grows under a range of shade conditions and management changes affect species interactions. For example, Pseudacteon spp. more strongly limit A. instabilis foraging in low-shade coffee habitats. We sampled relative abundance of three phorid species around A. instabilis nests in three coffee habitats varying in shade management during dry and wet seasons. We measured canopy cover, tree richness, tree density, leaf litter depth, and number of nearby trees with A. instabilis to determine whether these habitat factors correlate with phorid abundance. P. laciniosus Brown was the most abundant phorid in both seasons. Phorid relative abundance did not differ by habitat, but did differ by season. P. laciniosus accounted for a higher proportion of phorids in the wet season (91.4%) than in the dry season (78.9%), and P. planidorsalis Brown accounted for a larger percent in the dry season (21.1%) than in the wet season (7.3%). Phorid composition did not differ with habitat type, and none of the measured environmental variables correlated with changes in phorid composition. Thus, phorids in coffee agroecosystems respond to large seasonal differences, but not differences between coffee habitats.
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Vol. 41 • No. 5