Fig Wasps facts and data. Know Fig Wasps eating regimen, habitat, behaviour taxonomy, and many others See fascinating facts of Fig Wasps in our animal facts archive.

Scientific title: Agaonids 
Scientific classification:
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Agaonidae


What do they appear like?
Fig wasps are small bugs. The females are winged with flat heads, whereas the males are wingless with pale, comparatively smooth our bodies.

Where do they dwell?
These bugs are present in tropical and subtropical areas, at all times in affiliation with fig timber.

Characteristics

Figs are a spectacularly profitable group of flowering vegetation, numbering about 900 species, lots of which dominate tropical terrestrial ecosystems. Fundamental to the success of this group of vegetation is the distinctive manner wherein they're pollinated. A flower is an commercial for pollinators, sometimes bugs.

The form of the flower usually provides it away, however with the figs, the flowers develop contained in the growths coveted by people and different animals as food. What may very well be the pollinator on this very odd association? Over hundreds of thousands of years, the lifetime of the fig tree and the lifetime of a lot of small wasps have turn into inextricably entwined. The majority of fig timber have their very own devoted species of tiny pollinating wasp that fertilize the bounteous fruit of a fig tree (a single fig tree could produce up to 1 million figs). These wasps are so small they might simply crawl by the attention of a small needle. The improvement of the figs on one specific tree is commonly synchronized, and when they're younger and small, they offer off a specific odor that draws females of its pollinator wasp from far and broad.

The wasp, after following this scent to its supply, alights and enters the fig by a small gap surrounded by scales—a wasp turnstile that admits solely the precise pollinator species. It is a decent squeeze, and the feminine tears off her wings and antennae as she squeezes alongside the tunnel, inching her manner together with backward pointing enamel on her head and limbs. This is commonly a one-manner ticket—she could by no means go away the fig as soon as she has fought her manner inside. The fig is definitely a thick-walled chamber, the perimeters of which sprout tiny flowers. In some fig species, there could also be solely feminine flowers within the chamber, whereas different species at all times have male and feminine flowers in the identical fig. Many feminine fig wasps have a pouch on their underbelly that shops pollen taken from the fig they developed in. The feminine pollinates the feminine flowers, diligently sprinkling a number of grains on every flower visited and laying eggs in a few of them, threading her egg-laying tube into the skinny neck of the bloom. This is her remaining act, and she dies quickly after. A month passes, and a few of the fig flowers are ruptured by the escape of the feminine wasp’s first off spring. These are all males, and they're pallid and wingless. They crawl across the fig chamber with heavy heads and nicely-developed limbs. Their first act is to mate with their sisters which might be nonetheless growing in a few of the different flowers of the fig. The male wasps then use their nicely-developed mandibles to chop a tunnel from the chamber towards the floor of the fig. Sadly for the males, their life within the dim half-mild of the fig chamber is brief, and when the excavations are full, they develop weary and die. Shortly after, the feminine wasps emerge, with their very own younger already growing inside them. They work their manner across the chamber, both fastidiously amassing pollen from the male flowers which have sprouted or being unintentionally dusted by the pollen. Using the opening chewed by the males to escape, they then fly away from their beginning fig. The heady tropical air shall be thick with all method of odors, but just one will seize the eye of the freshly emerged females, and that's the scent given off by one species of growing fig because it alerts its readiness to its devoted pollinator.

Key Facts

  • The relationship between the wasp and the fig tree has been at the least 80 million years within the making. It is without doubt one of the closest in nature. Neither the fig nor the wasp can dwell with out each other.
  • The finer factors of this complicated relationship are nonetheless to be understood. It seems that some species of fig tree are pollinated by multiple species of fig wasp.
  • Any self-respecting lazy wasp would benefit from the refuge for its younger offered by the fig with out returning the favor and pollinating the plant. After all, the wasp has to go to a whole lot of hassle to actively pollinate the fig. What stops the wasp from dishonest? It has been discovered that unfertilized figs could be extra doubtless to fall from the tree than fertilized ones and that this might spell the tip for the off spring of any dishonest gall wasps. Even if the unpollinated figs don't fall, it's doubtless they may produce fewer wasp off spring.
  • These tiny bugs and their position as the only pollinators of fig timber make them a key element of tropical terrestrial ecosystems. Countless animals depend on fig timber, not just for their nutritious fruit but additionally for the habitats they supply. After the feminine fig wasps have emerged, the seeds develop and the entire fig ripens, turning into engaging to birds, monkeys, and a raft of different tropical animals.
  • As with another relationship on the planet, the fig/fig wasp symbiosis is exploited by varied different animals. There are many different species of wasp that prey on the fig wasps. The females of these parasitic wasps have lengthy, needle-like ovipositors, which they use to introduce their eggs into the growing larvae of the fig wasps. They perch on the outside of the fig, and with the accuracy of a sniper, pick the fig wasp larvae within the multitude of fig flowers utilizing the delicate tip of their ovipositor.