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Volume 2012, Article ID 108389, 7 pages
Research Article

Predation of Fruit Fly Larvae Anastrepha (Diptera: Tephritidae) by Ants in Grove

1Faculdade de Ciências Biológicas e Ambientais, Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados (UFGD), MS 162, Km 12, 79804-970 Dourados, MS, Brazil
2Laboratório de Ecologia Comportamental e de Interações, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU), P.O. Box 593, 38400-902 Uberlândia, MG, Brazil

Received 10 August 2012; Accepted 19 September 2012

Academic Editor: Kleber Del-Claro

Copyright © 2012 W. D. Fernandes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Based on evidence that ants are population regulatory agents, we examined their efficiency in predation of fruit fly larvae Anastrepha Schiner, 1868 (Diptera: Tephritidae). Hence, we considered the differences among species of fruit trees, the degree of soil compaction, and the content of soil moisture as variables that would explain predation by ants because these variables affect burying time of larvae. We carried out the experiment in an orchard containing various fruit bearing trees, of which the guava (Psidium guajava Linn.), jaboticaba (Myrciaria jaboticaba (Vell.) Berg.), and mango trees (Mangifera indica Linn.) were chosen for observations of Anastrepha. We offered live Anastrepha larvae on soil beneath the tree crowns. We observed for 10 min whether ants removed the larvae or the larvae buried themselves. Eight ant species were responsible for removing 1/4 of the larvae offered. The Pheidole Westwood, 1839 ants were the most efficient genus, removing 93% of the larvae. In compacted and dry soils, the rate of predation by ants was greater. Therefore, this study showed that ants, along with specific soil characteristics, may be important regulators of fruit fly populations and contribute to natural pest control in orchards.