Biodiv Sci ›› 2009, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (2): 168-173.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2009.08341

• Paper • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Reproductive strategy and impact on the fig-pollinator mutualism of one non-pollinating fig wasp species

Zhenji Wang1,2, Fengping Zhang1,2, Yanqiong Peng1, Darong Yang1,*()   

  1. 1 Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223
    2 Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2008-12-22 Accepted:2009-02-18 Online:2009-03-20 Published:2009-03-20
  • Contact: Darong Yang


In order to understand the nature and intensity of interactions between non-pollinating fig wasps and fig-pollinator mutualist wasps, and consequently shed light on why they coexist, we studied interactions between Walkerella sp. and the Ficus curtipes fig-pollinator mutualism in Xishuangbanna Botanical Garden in 2008. The reproductive behaviour of Walkerella sp. was studied by means of observation, and a controlled experiment was applied to study interspecies relationships. Figs only with pollinator, figs only with Walkerella sp., figs with both pollinator and Walkerella sp. and natural figs were compared in this research. Walkerella sp. was observed ovipositing on the outside of the fig. One Walkerella sp. can oviposit on many figs. ANOVA showed that the number of pollinator in figs with both pollinator and Walkerella sp. is significantly lower than that in figs only with pollinator (P < 0.01), while the number of seed did not differ between figs with only pollinators and figs with both Walkerella sp. and pollinator (P = 0.33). The number of Walkerella sp. did not differ among figs with only Walkerella sp., figs with both pollinator and Walkerella sp. and natural figs. Our results support the hypothesis that Walkerella sp. affects pollinator number, but not seed number and there is no inquiline or parasitoid affecting the number of Walkerella sp. The requirement of male pollinators to dig a hole in the fig wall may limit the number of Walkerella sp. eggs in the figs.

Key words: mutualism, Ficus curtipes, fig wasp, reproductive strategy, Walkerella sp.