Biodiversity Science ›› 2012, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (3): 324-329.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2012.06012

Special Issue: Polination Biology: Theory and Primary Practice

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Convergence in host recognition behavior between obligate pollinating fig wasps and non-pollinating fig wasps

Ding Gu1, 2, Yanqiong Peng1, Darong Yang1*   

  1. 1Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303

    2Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2012-01-12 Revised:2012-02-16 Online:2012-05-09
  • Darong Yang E-mail:yangdr@xtbg.ac.cn;yangdr@xtbg.org.cn

The highly specific mutualism between fig trees and their obligate pollinating fig wasps is usually exploited by non-agaonid wasps, and some of these wasps can enter and pollinate the figs just like the obligate pollinating wasps. Therefore, the agaonid and non-agaonid wasps have convergently evolved in their morphological characteristics and phenology. However, there are few data about the convergence of host recognition behaviors among these wasps. In Ficus curtipes, there are three internally ovipositing wasps, i.e. one obligate pollinating wasp, Eupristina sp., and two inquiline wasps (Diaziella yangi and Lipothymus sp.), which can also pollinate the figs if they enter the figs. In this study, we carried out several behavioral experiments with a Y-tube olfactometer to test the hypothesis of convergence of host recognition behaviors among these wasps. We observed and recorded the wasps’ behavior of choice among figs at different developmental phases and among 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-ol, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one and the mixture of the two chemicals. Our results showed that all three of the wasps were significantly attracted by the receptive F. curtipes figs when presented with choices between receptive figs and figs at other developmental phases and were significantly repelled by the male phase figs of F. curtipes when presented with choices between male phase figs and figs at other developmental phases. In addition, all of them also preferred to the compound 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-ol at the dose level of 1μL. These results provide evidence for the hypothesis of convergence of host recognition behavior among obligate pollinating fig wasps and non-pollinating fig wasps. The role of behavioral convergence in the evolution of non-obligate pollinating wasps into obligate ones is also discussed.

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