Fig wasp and tree relationship web

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

fig wasp and tree relationship web

Discover how fig wasps pollinate fig trees while they undergo their own the complex relationship between figs and their pollinators, fig wasps. A researcher describes species of fig tree parasites which compete and even prey upon the fig wasps during the many phases of the. 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.

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 and tree relationship web

After mating, the males dig a hole in the fig that allows the females to fly out and find new figs. The males do not have wings, so they cannot leave, and die inside the fig in which they were born. Just as the fig wasp depends on the fig tree to complete its life cycle, the fig tree is counting on the wasp.

fig wasp and tree relationship web

But with the flowers hidden inside the figs, how does the pollen ever get to the flower? It turns out that the wasps bring the pollen that triggers the growth of fig fruits.

fig wasp and tree relationship web

The mother wasp carries pollen from the flowers in her birth fig to the flowers in the new fig. Her daughters repeat the cycle, when they carry pollen from their birth fig to the flowers in their next figs.

Together Forever As you now know, fig trees require fig wasps to make new trees, and fig wasps require fig trees to make new wasps.

Fig Wasps | Ask A Biologist

So it seems that if monkeys, bats, or parrots want wasp-free figs, they are simply out of luck. Changes in branching patterns estimated using the generalized mixed Yule coalescent test indicated lineage duplication on the same Ficus species.

Conversely, Elisabethiella and Alfonsiella fig wasp species are able to reproduce on multiple, but closely related host fig species.

Tree reconciliation tests indicate significant codiversification as well as significant incongruence between fig wasp and Ficus phylogenies.

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Conclusions The findings demonstrate more relaxed pollinating fig wasp host specificity than previously appreciated. Evolutionarily conservative host associations have been tempered by horizontal transfer and lineage duplication among closely related Ficus species.

Independent and asynchronistic diversification of pollinating fig wasps is best explained by a combination of both sympatric and allopatric models of speciation. Pollinator host preference constraints permit reproduction on closely related Ficus species, but uncertainty of the frequency and duration of these associations requires better resolution. Background Several lines of theory have been proposed to account for the enormous diversity of phytophagous insects.

Diversification conceivably ensues by ecological opportunity and adaptation to the exploitation of previously unattainable resources [ 12 ]; by restricted gene flow through allopatric means [ 34 ]; and disruptive selection and sympatric speciation [ 56 ]. In order to discern among potential mechanisms driving speciation, both historical pattern and ecological scale processes are important to consider [ 7 - 10 ].

Comparative phylogenetic approaches that test congruence between host and associate populations can contribute to greater resolution in unravelling ecological scale processes [ 11 - 14 ]. Here we interpret the codiversification between Ficus host species and populations of a group of African fig wasp pollinator species. No single adaptive hypothesis is yet to explain the conditions determining the origin, maintenance, and extinction of insect-plant mutualisms [ 15 ] and the overwhelming amount of literature surrounding the field has led to periodic reassessment of central concepts [ 21617 ].

Pollination mutualisms are iconic examples of highly specialized interactions [ 18 - 20 ]. Ficus are singularly dependent on pollination by fig wasps Chalcidoidea: Agaonidae that in turn are dependent on the fig 'fruit' for reproduction [ 1821 ]. Pollinating fig wasps show remarkable conservatism in host Ficus preference having concordant and ancient associations in the vicinity of 60 Myr [ 2223 ]. Correlated evolution between figs and fig wasps is supported by numerous examples [ 1824 ].

fig wasp and tree relationship web

These include respiratory adaptation to fluid-filled figs [ 25 ] and head and mouthpart adaptation to the receptacle ostiole [ 26 ]. The presence of close phylogenetic correspondence within the mutualism has been presented in previous work [ 2227 - 30 ] and strongly supports the hypothesis of a historically conservative interaction.

The causal mechanisms supporting the maintenance of extremely conserved interactions remain unclear. The estimation of the strength of these evolutionarily conserved interactions has come about through testing phylogenetic congruence at the species level and above.

New phase proposed in the relationship between figs and wasps

The presence of strict-sense cospeciation between one pollinator species and one Ficus species remain an outstanding case in insect-plant interactions, albeit greater scrutiny over the last decade has revealed species complexes and multiple pollinator species present on single host species [ 81331 ].

From an empirical point of view, tests of phylogenetic correspondence that seek to estimate the level of 'cospeciation' [ 32 ] can in theory indicate up to four codiversification scenarios [ 33 ].

Thus, the taxonomic scale at which tests of congruence are conducted can influence interpretation of the cospeciation pattern in uncovering process.

fig wasp and tree relationship web

Analyses of congruence among distantly related taxonomic subdivisions in poorly sampled clades can bias interpretation in favour of 'cospeciation' [ 8 ].