Moths boring into Ficus syconia on Iriomote Island, south-western Japan


Dr Shinji Sugiura, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Nihonmatsu-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8501 Japan.


Herbivory in the syconia of six Ficus (Moraceae) species (F. superba, F. varieagata, F. virgata, F. irisana, F. bengutensis and F. septica) was examined in March 2002 on Iriomote Island, south-western Japan. Larvae of two lepidopteran species, Pachybotys spissalis (Guenée) (Pyralidae: Pyraustinae) and Stathmopoda sp. (Stathmopodidae) were observed to bore into the Ficus syconia. The attack rate by the moths varied from 0 to 38.5% across Ficus trees. The interiors of the syconia were heavily grazed by the moth larvae. Because figs (syconia) can be regarded as galls and seeds, according to sex and developmental stage, the moth larvae could be considered as gall or seed herbivores, and predators of fig wasps. Moth attack in the Ficus syconia could cause the destruction of fig wasp populations, as fig wasps develop in the syconia.