Specificity of the Red Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Phagostimulant Response to Carbohydrates
AbstractThe red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is considered an oil-loving feeder, however, carbohydrates are essential ingredients in the diet of the fire ant also. Comprehensive screening of mono-, di-, and tri-saccharides demonstrated that glucose, fructose, fucose, sucrose, maltose, turanose and raffinose were significant phagostimulants for fire ant workers. It was also found that while D-glucose and L-fucose, the naturally occurring isomers, were active, the opposite diastereomers were not. Any structural modification of the glucose molecule resulted in loss of activity. None of the sugar alcohols evaluated were active. The fire ant is an agricultural pest and the many reports of fire ant damage to food crops may be linked to their need for dietary carbohydrates. A knowledge of carbohydrate phagostimulants may help to understand specificity of fire ant /plant interactions.
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