Figs and wasps relationship help

Mutualistic relationship is maintained : Fig Wasp - AskNature

figs and wasps relationship help

A researcher describes species of fig tree parasites which compete and even prey upon the fig wasps during the many phases of the. If, like me, you think of the year in relation to the fruits that are ripe at various times, you know that we just passed peach and plum time and that. The current mutual relationship between the two didn't happen overnight. It's the result of millions of years of evolution. The fig plant and the fig wasp both have.

Flowers that receive eggs undergo a transformation to become hardened structures called galls, becoming 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 first wasps to emerge from the galls are wingless males with reduced eyes but large strong mandibles," Palmieri said. 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.

  • A tale of loyalty and betrayal, starring figs and wasps
  • Are figs really full of baby wasps?
  • New phase proposed in the relationship between figs and wasps

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 through the feces scattered by the vertebrates that feeds from figs.

figs and wasps relationship help

The proposed F phase Evidence of the new F phase began to appear over the course of years of observation. 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. That's when we decided to investigate what was going on," Palmieri said.

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.

These insects may colonize figs during different phases of the tree's lifecycle. Some rely on fallen figs to complete their development. Palmieri divided the insects into two categories according to their role in the fig tree's ecology and their potential impact on its reproduction. He called the categories "early fig interlopers" and "fallen fig fauna.

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

The fly larvae migrate to the interior of the fig and feed exclusively on yeast and bacteria brought inside by the pollinating wasp.

The flies finish their development inside the fig and leave by the exit hole previously chewed in the fig wall by male wasps. Butterflies and moths are the most aggressive group of insects in terms of the damage to figs. 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. 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.

figs and wasps relationship help

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.

figs and wasps relationship help

The figs are eaten by monkeys, rodents, bats, peccaries and many other animals. 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. 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. These trees are far less cooperative. Dioecious fig trees are subtly different to monoecious ones. In particular, their flowers tend to have shorter stalks than those of monoecious species.

figs and wasps relationship help

The wasps can still nest in dioecious trees, but their young can only develop in male flowers The fig wasps have changed along with them. Morphological data shows that wasps pollinating monoecious figs tend to have long ovipositors, while those that pollinate dioecious figs have short ovipositors. Dioecy evolved much more recently, as did the altered wasps. Fossil fig wasps have been found in England that date from 34 million years ago.

They have short ovipositors that are almost indistinguishable from those of modern species associated with dioecious figs. The nature of dioecious fig trees creates an evolutionary conflict, one that the fig wasps seem to be losing. View image of A Roxburgh fig Ficus auriculata Credit: Female flowers have comparatively long stalks, so the female wasps' short ovipositors cannot reach inside to lay eggs and turn the flowers into galls.

A female wasp cannot lay its eggs in a female flower, so when it enters it commits reproductive suicide Despite this, some female wasps enter the female flowers anyway. From the wasps' point of view this is utterly futile, as it means they cannot reproduce.

Keep up with Mother Nature

At first scientists thought that they might be doing it because the male flowers were not yet receptive, leaving them no other option.

But in a study published in FebruaryRenee Borges at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and her colleagues found that the wasps sometimes enter the female flowers even when the male flowers are receptive. It turns out that the female flowers attract the wasps by mimicking the scent of male flowers.

The fig trees are deceiving the wasps, a Machiavellian strategy that furthers the reproductive goals of the fig tree but spells doom for the wasps.

A female wasp cannot lay its eggs in a female flower, so when it enters it commits reproductive suicide.

figs and wasps relationship help

However, the female flower still gets pollinated and goes on to produce seeds. This raises an obvious question.

New phase proposed in the relationship between figs and wasps

If this strategy is harmful for the fig wasps, and the figs have been using it for tens of millions of years, why haven't the wasps bailed on the figs, or started fighting back? Borges says it may all be down to genetics. The figs and the wasps are utterly dependent on each other, but that does not mean they are "loyal" Fig wasps are inbred, because they often mate with their own brothers or sisters inside a syconium.