Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Fig Wasps

  • Hannah Nadel
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_3799

Miniscule wasps (order Hymenoptera) that breed exclusively in association with the flask-shaped floral receptacle (fig, syconium) of fig plants (Ficusspp.). The group is composed of about 3,000 species of Chalcidoidea in the families Agaonidae, Pteromalidae, Torymidae, Ormyridae, Eurytomidae, and the unplaced subfamilies Epichrysomallinae and Sycophaginae. The Agaonidae are mutualistic partners of figs, pollinating the flowers while laying their eggs in the ovules inside the receptacle. The other species feed on syconial tissues, parasitize the Agaonidae or each other, or parasitize a small number of other insects developing in the syconia. Non-pollinators mostly oviposit from the exterior of the fig wall, and hence have long ovipositors that evolved in length to match the thickness of the fig wall. Some resemble pollinators in form and habit, entering the syconia to lay their eggs. Many have apterous or dimorphic males. Only 20–30% of fig wasp species have been described. A few...

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  1. Bouček Z (1993) The genera of chalcidoid wasps from Ficus fruit in the New World. J Nat Hist 27:173–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. West SA, Herre EA, Windsor DM, Green PRS (1996) The ecology and evolution of the New World non-pollinating fig wasp communities. J Biogeogr 23:447–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah Nadel
    • 1
  1. 1.USDA-ARS, San Joaquin Valley Science CenterParlierUSA