Nematodes in the native bush ant Prolasius advenus.

Phil Lester *1, Zeng Qi Zhao 2, Kerrie Davies 3, Evan Brenton-Rule 1, Julien Grangier 1, Monica Gruber 1, Robin Giblin-Davis 4

1 Victoria University of Wellington
2 Landcare Research
3 University of Adelaide
4 University of Florida

We have observed the native bush ant, Prolasius advenus, to be infected by three different species of nematodes. All three nematodes appear new to science. They appear to have a widespread distribution through the New Zealand range of bush ants. A high proportion of ant colonies are infected, and within some colonies ant infection rates of up to 37% have been observed. In laboratory trials we have managed to infect other ants with these nematodes. The nematodes may thus be present in a range of different ants.  In this talk I will discuss this ant-nematode relationship and its potential influence on ant populations.

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