Animal Species:Fig wasps

Some native Australian fig trees need fig wasps for successful pollination and the wasps rely on the tree to complete their lifecycle. This relationship has evolved to the point where the tree and the wasp are completely dependent on each other.

Standard Common Name

Fig wasps

Identification

Male fig wasps are wingless, a golden-brown colour and have an under-turned 'tail'; females have wings and a long head.

Size range

1.5 mm

Distribution

Fig wasps are found throughout Australia.

Habitat

Fig wasps live in urban areas, forests and woodlands and anywhere native fig trees are found.

Life cycle

After mating inside a fig, which contains the minute flowers, the pollen-laden female flies off to find another fig. She burrows into it with her long head and sometimes loses her wings and antennae in the process. She then attempts to lay her eggs inside the flowers and, in the process, pollinates them with pollen from the last fig she visited. The fig tree chemically detects the presence of the egg and surrounds it with plant tissue. This provides the larva, which hatches inside the fig, with enough food to grow and restart the cycle.

The males spend their entire yet short lives inside the fig, where they mate with females and die soon after.

Classification

Subfamily:
Agaoninae
Family:
Agaonidae
Superfamily:
Chalcidoidea
Suborder:
Apocrita
Order:
Hymenoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags wasps, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, wildlife of sydney, identification,

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