• Ficus racemosa L.;
  • fig;
  • fig wasp;
  • fragmentation;
  • tropical rain forest

Abstract: Habitat fragmentation usually results in alteration of species composition or biological communities. However, little is known about the effect of habitat fragmentation on the fig/fig wasp system. In this study, we compared the structure of a fig wasp community and the interaction between figs and fig wasps of Ficus racemosa L. in a primary forest, a locally fragmented forest and a highly fragmented forest. Our results show that, in the highly fragmented forest, the proportion of pollinator wasps is lower and the proportion of non-pollinator wasps is higher compared with the primary forest and locally fragmented forest. The proportion of fruits without pollinator wasps in mature fruits is also greatly increased in the highly fragmented forest. The proportion of galls in all female flowers increases in the highly fragmented forest, whereas the proportion of viable seeds does not change considerably. The disruption of groups of fig trees results in a decrease in pollinator wasps and even might result in the extinction of pollinator wasps in some extreme cases, which may transform the reciprocal interaction between figs and fig wasps into a parasite/host system. Such an effect may lead to the local extinction of this keystone plant resource of rain forests in the process of evolution, and thereby, may change the structure and function of the tropical rain forest.

( Managing editor: Ya-Qin HAN)