Sources of spores for the possible horizontal transmission of Thelohania solenopsae (Microspora: Thelohaniidae) in the red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta
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We screened adult and larval secretions and midden piles for the presence of Thelohania solenopsae spores to decipher potential sources for the horizontal transmission of the pathogen in fire ants. Hemolymph samples from both adult and larvae were also screened to rule out hemolymph contamination of samples. In adults, Thelohania spores were found in the crop and the fecal fluids, although only free spores were found in the fecal fluids of adults. In fourth instar larvae, both free and octospores were seen in midgut and the meconium samples. All of the midden pile samples had T. solenopsae spores of both types. Based on these results, we theorize that the pathogen may be horizontally transmitted within a colony by the removal and sharing of meconium of prepupating fourth instar larvae by adult workers and by the adult fecal droppings, and intercolonially by contamination of midden piles or brood raiding.
author list (cited authors)
Chen, J., Snowden, K., Mitchell, F., Sokolova, J., Fuxa, J., & Vinson, S. B.