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Phoretic mites of fire ants

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Phoretic mites of fire ants

 
A female fire ant alate with several <i>Oplitis moseri</i> (mites) attached. USDA photo.

A female fire ant alate with several Oplitis moseri (mites) attached. USDA photo.

Phoretic arthropods attach themselves to fire ants to achieve dispersal.  In a 2008 study, 4,663 phoretic arthropods were removed from fire ant alates (male and female fire ants with wings) .  A wide variety of taxonomic groups were represented, including two insect and fourteen mite families, providing a total of 27 species.  The arthropods fell into three classes: 1) truly phoretic, with many specimens collected; 2) probably phoretic with few specimens collected; and 3) accidentally phoretic with only one or two specimens collected.  Read more about phoretic arthropods at eXtension.org.

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