Human commerce has resulted in the spread of the imported fire ants, species, worldwide. Six species of parasitic phorid flies that are highly host specific to the complex of fire ants have been successfully released in the southern United States. The presence of phorid flies, in addition to having direct mortality effects on their host ants, modifies foraging behavior and disrupts interspecific competition between host species and other ant species in the community. Fire ant workers have evolved effective methods to cope with parasitism pressure, which may relieve population-level impacts of introduced phorid flies. This review focuses on the mechanisms underlying host location, host preference, and host-size selection of phorid flies and highlights their direct and indirect effects on fire ant populations. Knowledge gained from parasitoid–ant interactions will enhance use of natural enemies as biological control agents for invasive social insects.


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