Development of a methodology of collection and rearing of the invasive ant Paratrechina longicornis Latreille (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the laboratory.
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The genus Paratrechina is a cosmopolitan group, with some species invading residences and hospitals. In Brazil, the most important species are: Paratrechina fulva and Paratrechina longicornis. In spite of the importance of these species as urban pests, there is a lack of information on their biology, since studies on urban ants are rather recent in our country and also due to the difficulty of keeping colonies of P. longicornis in the laboratory. Therefore, the present study was aimed at developing two methodologies: one suitable for collecting and another for keeping colonies of P. longicornis in the laboratory. Concerning the collections, four methodologies were analyzed, while for keeping colonies in the laboratory, the types of containers where the colonies would be stored as well as the food items that would comprise their diet were evaluated. The most adequate methodology for collecting was the one performed using an entomological aspirator. Regarding the maintenance of colonies, the most adequate container was the test tube with cotton steeped in water, while in the tests on food attractiveness, the workers showed preference for sugary liquids and dead insects, mainly termites. Moreover, two infestations of mites from the families Acaridae, Macrochelidae (genus Macrocheles) and Uropodidae in the colonies of P. longicornis have occurred, which caused a significant mortality of the colonies, due to an unbalance in the social behavior of the ants.