Fig tree and wasp relationship test

coevolution‖symbiosis‖fig wasp‖ficus‖local mate competition The cycle begins when the mated female wasps locate a receptive tree and enter the enclosed fig The phylogenetic relationships among cryptic species were tested . fig tree–fig wasp system to test whether cheating levels in symbionts are examine factors that affect the host–pollinator relation- ships in six. On male trees, the numbers and size of fig wasp offspring declined, and a If still pre-receptive, the bag was replaced and the fig was tested again in We used linear models (LMs) to analyze the relationship between fig age.

Armstrong, courtesy of Wayne's Word. Florida strangler fig Ficus aurea. Shortleaf fig, also known as the giant bearded fig or wild banyan tree Ficus citrifolia.

fig tree and wasp relationship test

Photo by Pedro Acevedo-Rodriquez. By Beatriz Moisset Fig trees have no visible flowers. At first one might think that they are wind pollinated. Who would visit such an unattractive non-flower? A fig is actually the stem of an inflorescence, very enlarged and fleshy, that surrounds the tiny flowers inside. The crunchy little things that you notice when eating a fig are the seeds, each corresponding to one flower. Such a unique flower requires a unique pollinator.

All fig trees are pollinated by very small wasps of the family Agaonidae.

What Is the Symbiotic Relationship between Fig Wasps & Figs?

Fig trees are tropical plants with numerous species around the world. There are just two species native to the United States: Each requires the services of one species of wasps. Both are closely related and belong to the same genus: The strangler fig is pollinated by Pegoscapus mexicanus and the shortleaf fig by Pegoscapus tonduzi.

When the female flowers inside the immature fruit are ready for pollination the fig emits an enticing aroma that attracts only female wasps of the specific type for that tree. The wasp finds the fig by its scent and struggles to get inside through the small opening at the end of the fig.

The study was published in the journal Acta Oecologica as part of a special volume compiled to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original discovery of the fig-wasp mutualism. This is why fig-wasp mutualism is so interesting. The two species coexist and mutually adapt to survive. This mutualism is not confined to the interaction between the species that produces edible figs Ficus carica, the common fig and its specific pollinators, fig wasps of the species Blastophaga psenes. The genus Ficus comprises more than species, and for each, there is a species of pollinating agaonid wasp.

The mutualism is ancient, Palmieri explained. The oldest fossils of fig wasps date from 34 million years ago. They closely resembled the species alive today, indicating that the symbiotic relationship evolved early and has not changed fundamentally since then.

Molecular evidence shows that the relationship existed 65 million years ago, suggesting that it might be even older, perhaps going back to the age of dinosaurs. The fig-wasp lifecycle begins when the female wasp enters the fig. The flowers open inside it, so they need a special pollination process. They cannot rely on wind or bees to carry their pollen. Inside the fig, there are female and male flowers that develop at different times. The A phase occurs when the female flowers are not yet mature.

New phase proposed in the relationship between figs and wasps | AGÊNCIA FAPESP

They soon mature and are ready to be fertilized. They become receptive to the wasps and release a scent made up of a huge amount of volatile compounds, triggering the B phase. Each fig receptacle is not entirely closed but has a small hole called an ostiole, through which the female wasp penetrates its interior.

As it does so, it loses its wings and its antennae are broken, so that it cannot get out again. It lays its eggs and dies. Synchronized actions Once inside the fig, the female wasp lays eggs in many of the flowers but not all. At the same time, it fertilizes the flowers with pollen stored in a pouch on the underside of its thorax. The flowers on which the eggs are laid now undergo a transformation to become hardened structures call galls. Now begins the C phase, which lasts two to three months.

The flowers that receive pollen but no eggs develop into seeds. Flowers that receive eggs and harden into galls become nurseries with food and shelter for wasp larvae. The D phase occurs at the end of larval incubation. This is also when the male flowers start to mature, opening up to expose pollen containers known as anthers. The male penetrates the female with a telescopic penis and fertilizes the female inside the gall. Once they have mated in this way, the males use their mandibles to bite through the fig wall.

They then go out through the hole, fall to the ground and die.

New phase proposed in the relationship between figs and wasps | AGÊNCIA FAPESP

Leaving the receptacle through the hole made by their brothers, the fertilized females fly away in search of other fig trees, and the cycle begins again. The E phase consists of seed dispersal.

The figs are eaten by monkeys, rodents, bats, peccaries and many other animals.

fig tree and wasp relationship test

Almost all forest-dwelling vertebrates feed on figs as part of their diet. F phase Palmieri has now proposed a new phase in addition to the five phases of the classic fig-wasp lifecycle, which has been studied for 50 years. They manage to insert their eggs into figs without performing the biological role of pollination.

What Is the Symbiotic Relationship between Fig Wasps & Figs? | Animals -

These figs were discarded and left out of the research. In some cases, larvae that were almost the same size as the fig had eaten almost its entire contents. In the article just published, I describe insects belonging to five orders and 24 different families that are not fig wasps but that also interact with figs, performing different functions. Some rely on fallen figs to complete their development. All the insects identified have representatives in both categories except for ten wasp species belonging to three families that are not fig wasps but that bear some resemblance to them.