Pollinators entering female dioecious figs: why commit suicide?
Article first published online: 11 DEC 2002
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 8, Issue 3, pages 301–313, May 1995
How to Cite
Patel, A., Anstett, M.-C., Hossaert-McKey, M. and Kjellberg, F. (1995), Pollinators entering female dioecious figs: why commit suicide?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 8: 301–313. doi: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.1995.8030301.x
- Issue published online: 11 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 11 DEC 2002
- Received 7 July 1994; accepted 9 September 1994.
- Cited By
In the dioecious fig/pollinator mutualism, the female wasps that pollinate figs on female trees die without reproducing, whereas wasps that pollinate figs on male trees produce offspring. Selection should strongly favour wasps that avoid female figs and enter only male figs. Consequently, fig trees would not be pollinated and fig seed production would ultimately cease, leading to extinction of both wasp and fig. We experimentally presented pollinators in the wild (southern India) with a choice between male and female figs of a dioecious fig species, Ficus hispida L. Our results show that wasps do not systematically discriminate between sexes of F. hispida. We propose four hypotheses to explain why wasp choice has not evolved, and how a mutualism is thus maintained in which all wasps that pollinate female figs have zero fitness.