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The non-pollinating fig wasps associated with Ficus guianensis: Community structure and impact of the large species on the fig/pollinator mutualism

Conchou, Lucie, Ciminera, Marina, Hossaert-McKey, Martine, Kjellberg, Finn
Acta oecologica 2014 v.57 pp. 28-37
Agaonidae, Ficus, community structure, figs, larvae, mutualism, parasitoids, pollinators, seeds
Understanding the ecology of non-pollinating fig-wasp communities depends on a good knowledge of larval feeding habits of the species involved, which can be gall inducers, kleptoparasites, parasitoids or seed eaters. However, larval feeding habits are poorly known and most community ecology studies on NPFW are based on hypothetical feeding habits or data analyzed independently of feeding habit. Here we take advantage of the particular situation in Ficus guianensis whose community is dominated by large NPFW, i.e. species that are obviously larger than pollinators, to establish the community structure and feeding habits of the most frequent wasps. We provide the first non-ambiguous negative correlation between the number of NPFW and the production of pollinators and seeds. Each developing large NPFW represents a disproportionate cost to the mutualism as it is responsible for the loss of about ten seeds plus pollinators, i.e. about 10% of the production of a fig.