Phorid parasitoids of endangered ants also endangered

When ant-decapitating flies have endangered hosts, they become endangered, too. Today in the journal Zootaxa, I describe three new species of phorids found by my co-authors Marcos A. L. Braganca, Diego S. Gomes, Jarbas M. Queiros, & Marcos C. Teixeiras. The three flies attack Atta robusta, a species of ant found only in restinga (sandbank) vegetation in a small area in Brazil. Two of the flies are Eibesfeldtphora species, while the other is a Myrmosicarius; all are parasitoids developing in the ant’s head. We don’t have photos, but I am taking the opportunity to show a couple of fabulous photos of another Eibesfeldtphora attacking leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica by Wendy Porras.

Eibesfeldtphora curvinervis about to attack a leaf cutter ant. Photo by Wendy Porras.

The fly laying an egg into the ant’s head through the occipital foramen (neck). Fabulous photo by Wendy Porras.

Terrifying photos. If these flies were the size of crows we’d never leave our houses!

6 comments to Phorid parasitoids of endangered ants also endangered

  1. Soraya Uribe Celis says:

    Que fotos tan hermosas…

  2. Jeff says:

    Great pics! You wrote: “Terrifying photos. If these flies were the size of crows we’d never leave our houses!” To which I say, “But Wendy would, and she would still take their pictures!”

  3. gunnarmk says:

    How well-known is the host-specificity of the tropical ant-decapitators?

  4. Kristen says:

    Amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *