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Volume 2012, Article ID 895424, 9 pages
Review Article

Current Understanding and Future Prospects of Host Selection, Acceptance, Discrimination, and Regulation of Phorid Fly Parasitoids That Attack Ants

1Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, 137 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2Department of Environmental Sciences, The University of Toledo, 2801 W. Bancroft Street, MS 604, Toledo, OH 43606, USA

Received 29 August 2011; Accepted 3 November 2011

Academic Editor: Jean Paul Lachaud

Copyright © 2012 Kaitlyn A. Mathis and Stacy M. Philpott. 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.


Phorid fly parasitoids (Diptera: Phoridae) have evolved a diverse array of cues used to successfully parasitize their ant hosts. Successful parasitism often involves (a) host habitat location, (b) host location, (c) host acceptance, (d) host discrimination, and (e) host regulation. In this paper we discuss our current understanding of how phorid flies use each of these steps to successfully parasitize ant hosts. We examine the wide variety of strategies and cues used by a multiple species of phorid flies within three separate genera that most commonly parasitize ants (Apocephalus, Pseudacteon, and Neodohrniphora) and discuss future directions within this field of study.