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Preferences of fig wasps and fruit bats for figs of functionally dioecious Ficus pungens

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 March 2004

Elizabeth R. Dumont
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, Morrill Science Center, 611 North Pleasant Street, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA Corresponding author. Email: bdumont@bio.umass.edu
Elizabeth R. Dumont
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, 220 Biological Sciences Building, 1445 Gortner Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA
Elizabeth R. Dumont
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325, USA

Abstract

Figs (Ficus species) are an important resource for a diverse array of organisms in most tropical forests (Janzen 1979 but see Gautier-Hion & Michaloud 1989). The inflorescence of Ficus, hereafter referred to as the ‘fig’, is an enclosed receptacle lined with unisexual flowers. The flowers of Ficus species are pollinated by wasps that feed on galled fig ovules as larvae and that lay eggs in fig flowers as adults (Weiblen 2002). Ripe figs are consumed by vertebrate frugivores, which are the primary dispersers of fig seeds (Shanahan et al. 2001). The interaction between figs, pollinators and frugivores introduces the potential for conflict between the roles of raising fig wasps and dispersing seeds. Specifically, the pollination mutualism could be compromised if frugivores consumed figs containing pollinator larvae. This conflict is resolved in very different ways according to the breeding system of the fig.

Type
Brief Report
Copyright
2004 Cambridge University Press

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