Host sex-specific parasites in a functionally dioecious fig: a preference way of adaptation to their hosts
Article first published online: 30 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 9, pages 2976–2984, September 2013
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(9): 2976–2984
- Issue published online: 8 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 30 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 31 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 23 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 24 JAN 2013
- National Natural Science Foundation of China. Grant Numbers: 31090253, 31210103912
- Major Innovation Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Grant Number: KSCX2-EW-Z-2
- Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China. Grant Numbers: 2012FY111100, 2011FY120200, O529YX5105, J0930004
- DNA barcoding;
- host shift;
- nonpollinating fig wasp
Host–parasites interaction is a common phenomenon in nature. Diffusive coevolution might maintain stable cooperation in a fig–fig wasps system, in which the exploiter might diversify their genotype, phenotype, or behavior as a result of competition with pollinator, whereas the figs change flower syconia, fruits thickness, and syconia structure. In functionally dioecious Ficus auriculata, male figs and female figs contain two types of florets on separate plant, and share high similarities in outside morphology. Apocryptophagus (Sycophaginae, Chalcidoidea, Hymenoptera) is one of few groups of nonpollinating fig wasps that can reproduce within both male and female figs. On the basis of the morphology and DNA barcoding, evidence from partial sequences of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I and nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2, we found that there are two nonsibling Apocryptophagus species living on male and female F. auriculata figs, respectively. We estimated that these two species diverged about 19.2 million years ago. Our study suggests that the host shift from Ficus variegate or Ficus prostrata fig species to male figs is a preference way for Apocryptophagus wasps to adapt to the separation of sexual function in diecious figs. Furthermore, to escape the disadvantage or sanction impact of the host, the exploiter Apocryptophagus wasps can preferably adapt to exploiting each sex of the figs, by changing their oviposition, niche shift, and habitat.