The ecology of the New World fig-parasitising wasps Idarnes and implications for the evolution of the fig-pollinator mutualism.
West, Stuart A
Herre, E Allen
Figs and their pollinating wasps are perhaps the classic example of an obligate mutualism. In addition, figs have a suite of non-pollinating parasitic wasps whose basic ecolgy is largely undescribed. Figs therefore present the interesting situation of a host that has two closely related taxa associated with it, one of which is mutualistic, the other parasitic. We show that the wasps belonging to the most abundant genus of New World parasites, the Idarnes wasps, develop at the expense of the pollinating wasps and not the viable seeds. However, the Idarnes wasps are not true parasitoids.