Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is an insect-pathogenic fungus, discovered by the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1859, and currently found predominantly in tropical forest ecosystems. Major Flooding Inundates Drought-Stricken Colorado Cities. Photograph by John Hafernik from Core et al. Hive abandonment, particularly at night, has been implicated as a behavior modification of A. borealis. Research is ongoing to determine whether effective management strategies exist for Apocephalus borealis. Apocephalus borealis Brues (the zombie fly) is a member of a specialized subgenus known as Mesophora. A fly (Apocephalus borealis) had inserted its eggs into the bees, using their bodies as a home for its developing larvae. Adults: To an untrained eye, zombie fly adults may resemble small fruit flies. Antennae are elongated, pear-shaped, and pointed with stout aristae (antennal bristles arising from the third antennal segment; Brues 1924). Ecological Entomology 27: 229-237. And the invaders had somehow led the bees from their hives to their deaths. The first abdominal segment has a brown hue and pale posterior margin, the second segment has mid-lateral brown patches, the third and fourth segments have larger dark patches, the fifth segment is entirely brown, and the sixth segment has brown markings at the anterior angles. (Read more about colony collapse disorder in our feature "Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees.") (2012). Apocephalus borealis recently has been confirmed to parasitize European honey bees, Apis mellifera sspp. Smith K, Loh E, Rostal M, Zambrana-Torrelio C, Mendiola L, Daszak P. 2013. Recently, molecular analyses of honey bees from Belgium tested positive for Apocephalus borealis. Their typical hosts include bumble bees and paper wasps but they are capable of parasitizing many other arthropods. This nationwide project uses volunteers from the public to scout, monitor, and report the presence of Apocephalus borealis in their local honey bee populations. For this reason, detailed physical descriptions of the egg and early larval stages are not available. The parasitic fly lays eggs in a bee's abdomen.  The infection of European honey bees in North America by A. borealis is a recent development that was first discovered by Dr. John Hafernik, who collected some dead specimens near a light source at San Francisco State University's campus. Worldwide pollinator decline is a significant economical concern. Are Zombie Bees Infiltrating Your Neighborhood? These bees often fly … (Read about other parasites that turn their hosts into zombies in the article "Zombie Creatures."). Taxonomy and preliminary phylogeny of the parasitic genus. Figure 7. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons. Core A, Runcke C, Ivers J, Quock C, Siapno T, DeNault S, Brown B, DeRisi J, Smith CD, Hafernik J. Several days later, the parasitized bee bumbles out of the hives—often at night—on a solo mission to nowhere. Apocephalus borealis’ legs are light brown and the female’s ovipositor is brownish-black with a pale tip (Brues 1924, Brown 1993). Reasons for abandoning the hive remain unclear. After a bee dies, as many as 13 fly larvae crawl out from the bee's neck. Photograph by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida. Parasitized honey bees show zombie-like behavior leaving their hives at night and are often attracted to nearby light… The bees' behavior seems similar to that of ants that are parasitized—and then decapitated from within—by other fly larvae from the Apocephalus genus. This extends to about the middle of the wing. The stated goals of the project are to determine where in North America the zombie fly is parasitizing honey bees and how often honey bees leave their hives at night (even if they are not parasitized) and to engage citizen scientists in making a significant contribution to knowledge about honey bees and in becoming better observers of nature. Otterstatter MC, Whidden TL, Owen RE. The research team plans to track bees with radio tags and video cameras to see whether infected bees are leaving the hive willingly or getting kicked out in the middle of the night—and where the flies are finding the bees in which they lay their eggs. However, this parasitoid could cause an economic loss in the regional honey bee industry. It has been estimated in San Francisco that 77% of the honey bee hives contain workers that have been infected by this parasitoid. Adult worker honey bee, Apis mellifera. A number of phorid flies primarily parasitize ants and some have been introduced into the United States for biological control of the red imported fire ant. Several days later, the parasitized bee bumbles out of the hives—often at night—on a solo mission to nowhere. Previous research has found evidence that mites, a virus, a fungus, or a combination of these factors might be responsible for the widespread colony collapse. Wings are translucent and narrow with few veins. The dorsal aspect of each abdominal segment has increased pigmentation, especially in males. About a week later larvae emerged from the dead bees. (2012). The team performed a genetic analysis of the fly and found that it is the same species that has previously been documented to parasitize bumblebee as well as paper wasp populations. Extensive research on the mating behavior and overall biology of the zombie fly is lacking. The zombie fly is primarily a parasitoid of bumble bees and wasps in North America. , "A new threat to honey bees, the parasitic phorid fly, "Flight of the Living Dead: Dr. John Hafernik", "Vegetation Management and Host Density Influence Bee–Parasite Interactions in Urban Gardens", "Evaluation of Phorid Fly (Apocephalus borealis) Parasitism of Feral Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Colonies in South Orange County", KSBR and the Department of Biological Sciences, Saddleback College, "Parasitic fly could account for disappearing honeybees", "Fly Parasite Turns Honeybees Into Zombies | LiveScience", "Notes on Some New England Phoridæ (Diptera)", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Apocephalus_borealis&oldid=984567441, Articles with dead external links from July 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from August 2017, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 October 2020, at 20:09. A bee leaving the hive and going towards a light source at night has yet to be observed. If Apocephalus borealis has demonstrated a shift in host preference, a specific management plan may be required to avoid possible economic impacts. It is unknown whether female Apocephalus borealis use olfactory markers, visual cues, or a combination of both to locate a host. Figure by Brues CT. 1924. The rate of Apocephalus borealis parasitism is being determined in honey bees. John Hafernik, a biology professor at San Francisco State University, had collected some belly-up bees from the ground underneath lights around the University's biology building. Of the bumble bee species parasitized by Apocephalus borealis, Bombus vosnesenskii (Figure 7) and Bombus melanopygus (Fig. This parasitoid's genus Apocephalus is best known for the "decapitating flies" that attack a variety of ant species, though A. borealis attacks and alters the behavior of bees and wasps. These were placed in a vial and forgotten. In 2012, Dr. John Hafernik and his colleges at San Francisco State University discovered that Apocephalus borealis also parasitizes honey bees (Figure 9).
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