Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 785–802 | Cite as

Responses of fig wasps to host plant volatile cues

  • Anthony B. Ware
  • Stephen G. Compton


Fig wasps (Chalcidoidea; Agaonidae) are intimately associated with the 750 or so species of fig trees (Ficus, Moraceae). Each tree species is usually pollinated by a single species of wasp belonging to the subfamily Agaoninae, while other wasps of the family are parasitoids or seed predators. Previous experiments have shown that the wasps are attracted to the trees by volatiles emanating from the figs. Using fig-bearing trees and arrays of sticky traps baited with figs, we investigated the specificity of wasp attraction and its timing. The pollinators of two closely relatedFicus species were specifically attracted to figs of their host species and only at the time when figs were ready to be pollinated. Some nonpollinating fig wasps appear to respond to the same volatile cues.

Key Words

Hymenoptera Agaonidae evolution fig wasps host finding volatile attractants Ficus Moraceae 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony B. Ware
    • 1
  • Stephen G. Compton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology and EntomologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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