Fig wasp tree relationship web

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

fig wasp tree relationship web

Just as the fig wasp depends on the fig tree to complete its life cycle, the fig tree is counting on the wasp. Like most new wasps. This is an example of a special relationship that biologists call an “obligate mutualism. Figs in Food Webs. A researcher describes species of fig tree parasites which compete and even prey upon the fig wasps during the many phases of the. Fig wasps are wasps of the superfamily Chalcidoidea which spend their larval stage inside figs. Most are pollinators but others simply feed off the plant.

These wasps act as parasites to either the fig or possibly the pollinating wasps. As the fig develops, the wasp eggs hatch and develop into larvae. The males of many species lack wings and are unable to survive outside the fig for a sustained period of time. After mating, a male wasp begins to dig out of the fig, creating a tunnel through which the females escape. Once out of the fig, the male wasps quickly die.

fig wasp tree relationship web

The females find their way out, picking up pollen as they do. They then fly to another tree of the same species, where they deposit their eggs and allow the cycle to begin again.

This means the fig wasp must use her sense of smell to find a tree with flowering figs. When she finds a fig with flowers, she squeezes through a tiny opening to get inside. The opening is so small that when climbing in, the wasp tears her wings and antennae.

This means that she will never be able to leave. She lays her eggs and lives the rest of her short life inside that tiny fig.

Mutualistic relationship is maintained : Fig Wasp - AskNature

Her eggs grow inside the fig flower and hatch several days later. The newly hatched wasps mate with other wasps that were born in the same fig.

fig wasp tree relationship web

However, a fig is not actually a fruit—it is an inverted inflorescence, a cluster of hundreds of tiny flowers contained inside a bulbous stem. The flowers produce seeds internally after being pollinated by fig wasps. The mutualism is ancient, Palmieri explained.

fig wasp tree relationship web

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.

fig wasp tree relationship web

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.

We believe these inflorescences were still open, so they could be pollinated by various insects," Palmieri said. Over the course of at least 65 million years of evolution, the fig's inflorescence became an enclosure sealed off from the outside world, and only the fig wasp was able to penetrate it.

The fig-wasp lifecycle begins when the female wasp enters the fig.

New phase proposed in the relationship between figs and wasps

The flowers open inside it, so they need a special pollination process. They cannot rely on wind or bees to carry their pollen. That's where the fig wasp comes in," he explained. The five phases of the cycle 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.

New phase proposed in the relationship between figs and wasps

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. The lifecycles of figs and fig wasps are studied as a way of understanding the evolution of mutualism. Coelho Once inside the fig, the female wasp lays eggs in many of the flowers but not all.