Phorid flies in the genus Pseudacteon are specialized parasitoids of Solenopsis fire ants. Female flies lay their eggs in the abdomens of fire ant workers. After hatching the larval parasitoid then travels to the head, where it feeds on mandibular muscle and changes the host ant’s behavior to keep itself safe. Little is known about the physical interactions between the parasitoid and its host. We are using microcomputed tomography (microCT) to visualize the development of larval phorid flies in situ.
Project Team Members: Rob Campbell, Graduate Student, OIST (Japan) Alexander (Sasha) Mikheyev, PI, OIST (Japan) and ANU (Australia)