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Predation on the pollinating fig wasp of Ficus erecta by larvae of Silba sp. (Diptera: Lonchaeidae)

Authors


Tomoko Okamoto, JT Biohistory Research Hall, 1-1 Murasaki-cho, Takatsuki, Osaka 569-1125, Japan. Email: tomoko.m.okamoto@gmail.com

Abstract

This study examined the insect assemblage within the syconium of the dioecious fig Ficus erecta Thunb., 1786 (Moraceae) on Kii-Oshima Island, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. Species present included pollinating and non-pollinating fig wasps Blastophaga nipponica Grandi, 1921 and Sycoscapter inubiae Ishii, 1934, respectively, as well as an undetermined species of Silba Macquart, 1851 (Diptera: Lonchaeidae). Larvae of Silba sp. were found only in fig syconia containing B. nipponica. Observations revealed that larvae of Silba sp. fed on female adults of B. nipponica within fig galls by thrusting their heads through the intersegmental membrane. Furthermore, larvae of Silba sp. had a high predation rate (90%). These observations suggest that larvae of Silba sp. are specialized for feeding on B. nipponica and have a negative effect on populations of this species.

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