The ecology and evolution of the New World non-pollinating fig wasp communities
West SA., Herre EA., Windsor DM., Green PRS.
We present data on several previously undescribed species from six genera of New World non-pollinating fig wasps. We show thai many of these species have a negative effect on the reproductive success of both the pollinator wasps and the host figs. Our results suggest that the two most abundant genera of non-pollinating wasps, the Idarnes and the Critogaster, compete for the same pool of female flowers as the pollinating wasps in the Urostigma and Pharmacosycea figs, respectively. Wasps from the genus Aepocerus induce and develop within large galls, in the Urostigma figs. By draining resources from the fruit these wasps may have a detrimental effect on the production of pollinator wasps and viable seeds. Some of the species investigated are parasitoids of other non-pollinating species. We examine the importance of the various forms of spatial heterogeneity in the parasitism rate that can act to stabilise the host-parasitoid interaction. Finally, we discuss the factors underlying the large variation in the abundance and diversity of the non-pollinating wasps both among and within fruit crops.