What is the symbiotic relationship between figs and fig wasps?

What is the symbiotic relationship between figs and fig wasps?

Figs and fig wasps have a special relationship that is essential to their mutual survival. The fig provides a home for the wasp and the wasp provides the pollen that the fruit needs to ripen. The insect’s life cycle begins when a tiny female wasp enters a fig and begins laying eggs inside it.

How does a wasp become a fig?

These hatch into larvae that burrow out, turn into wasps and fly off, carrying fig pollen with them. If the wasp climbs into a female fig, she pollinates it, but cannot lay her eggs and just dies alone. Luckily for us, the female fig produces an enzyme that digests this wasp completely.

What is the relationship between Smyrna figs and wasps?

Mediterranean farmers long ago discovered that Smyrna fig trees could be made fruitful by hanging among their branches fruits of inedible, so-called wild goat figs, or caprifigs. The caprifigs supply the needed pollen, which is carried into the developing Smyrna fruits by that tiny wasp.

Do figs start with a wasp in them?

Most commercial figs, like the ones you buy at the store, are grown without wasps. While wasp bodies may add some crunch to a tasty fig, you probably won’t find a wasp inside a fig you are about to eat, even if you look really hard.

How are figs pollinated?

All figs are pollinated by fig wasps. Figs and fig wasps help each other with the same goal: reproduction. To start the cycle, a female fig wasp enters a fig through the tiny hole in the bottom, which is so small that it tears her wings off on the way in.

What is obligate relationship?

Relationships can be obligate, meaning that one or both of the symbionts entirely depend on each other for survival. For example, in lichens, which consist of fungal and photosynthetic symbionts, the fungal partners cannot live on their own.

How does a fig become a fig?

The fig wasp lays her fertilized eggs into flowers that are inside of the figs; she also fertilizes some of the fig flowers with her fig pollen. Once the female wasp is done with that, she usually dies inside the fig. Then, all the baby wasps start to grow.

Why do figs need wasps?

Why Figs Need Wasps The fig blooms inside its pod connected to the fig plant. Flowers must be pollinated in order to reproduce, but since a fig’s flower is hidden inside itself, the pollinator must crawl inside the fig to bring the pollen directly to the flower. It is inside the fig flower where female wasps lay eggs.

How are Smyrna figs pollinated?

But Smyrna — the most commonly sold variety of dried fig — has no pollen. Fig pollination is brought about by pressing into service a tiny wasp.

Are all figs pollinated by wasps UK?

In the UK we have varieties that produce ripe figs without pollination and which are therefore seedless. However the wasps pollinate these figs in the process. The third or autumn batch of figs then swell, their holes open and allow female wasps in where they find only gall-flowers in which they can lay their eggs.

Do figs have genders?

All edible figs have male and female flowers, but only Caprifig is considered to be a male tree, according to the University of Georgia. Caprifig has inedible fruit and is used exclusively to pollinate other edible figs, while female trees produce edible fruit.