This study was designed to understand the effects of the interspecific competition between red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren and two native ant species, Pheidole fervens Smith and Monomorium chinense Santschi, by conducting colony interference and individual confrontation tests under laboratory conditions. The colony interference test showed that both native ant species, owing to their numerical advantage, killed the Solenopsis invicta virus-1 (SINV-1)-infected or healthy queens of S. invicta. Significantly less time was required for M. chinense to kill all SINV-1-infected S. invicta compared with the time required to kill the healthy S. invicta. Compared with healthy S. invicta, SINV-1-infected S. invicta spent a longer time eliminating the P. fervens colonies. In confrontation tests, M. chinense killed a significantly higher number of infected S. invicta minors than they did healthy minors, but the number of S. invicta majors (either infected or healthy) killed was substantially less. This study found that the viral infection weakened the competitive ability of S. invicta and made them prone to be eliminated by M. chinense but not by P. fervens.
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Vol. 104 • No. 2