SABCLSouth American Biological Control Laboratory (USDA)
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In addition, SABCL has an insect collection of about 6,000 pinned specimens, and thousands more specimens are preserved in alcohol.
Juan Briano, the lab's director since 2003, and the scientific team at SABCL have explored Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay and studied the abundance, biology, efficacy, and specificity of hundreds of natural enemies of several dozen invasive pests that were introduced into the United States from South America.
Both the insect and plant collections at SABCL are continuously updated with new specimens collected during field explorations.
Scientists at SABCL have studied interactions between RIFA (Solenopsis invicta) and other aboveground foraging ants in two habitats in northeastern Argentina.
"We found the highest numbers of fire ants in the area near the water," says Luis Calcaterra, a biologist at SABCL who works closely with the lab's director Juan Briano.
The technology transfer between CMAVE and SABCL has been mutually beneficial.
Now, CMAVE and SABCL scientists are looking to add a new scientific wrinkle--using the phorid fly as a vector for infecting the fire ant population with the microsporidia.
Working with SABCL scientists, the CMAVE team successfully transmitted another fire ant parasite, Vairimorpha invictae, to uninfected fire ant colonies for the first time in 2004.
The newly emerged flies were collected from the vials once a day, and preserved in 80 % ethanol in the SABCL collection.