Detecting the elusive cost of parasites on fig seed production

Segar, S.T., Mardiastuti, A., Wheeler, P.M. and Cook, J.M. (2018) Detecting the elusive cost of parasites on fig seed production. Acta Oecologica, 90. pp. 69-74.

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Mutualisms provide essential ecosystem functions such as pollinationand contribute considerably to global biodiversity. However, theyare also exploited by parasites that remove resources and thus impose costs on one or both of the mutualistic partners.The fig/pollinator interaction is a classic obligate mutualism;it is pantropical and involves>750 Ficusspecies and their host-specific pollinating wasps (family Agaonidae). Figs also hostparasites of the mutualism that should consumepollinatorsor seeds, depending on their larval ecology. We collected data from alarge crop of figs on Ficus glandiferavar.brachysyceinaSulawesi rainforest with an unusually high number of Eukoebeleasp. parasites.We found that these parasiteshave a significant negative correlationwith fig seed production as well as withpollinator offspringproduction.Eukoebeleawasps formthebasal genus in subfamily Sycophaginae (Chalcidoidea) and their larval biology isconsidered unknown. Our analysis suggests thatthey feed as flower gallersand impose direct costs on the fig tree, but a strategy including the consumption of pollinator larvae cannot be ruled out. We also present baseline data on the compositionof the fig wasp community associated with F. glandiferavar brachysyceand light trap catch data.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Conflict, Costs, Ficus, Mutualism, Parasites, Pollination
Divisions: Crop and Environment Sciences (to 31.07.20)
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2020 16:54
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 16:54

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