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African Natural History

On-line version ISSN 2305-7963
Print version ISSN 1816-8396


COMPTON, Stephen G. et al. Sneaky African fig wasps that oviposit through holes drilled by other species. Afr. nat. history (Online) [online]. 2009, vol.5, pp.9-15. ISSN 2305-7963.

Watshamiella Wiebes species (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Pteromalidae: Sycoryctinae) were observed to engage, monitor and subsequently use oviposition holes made by other parasitoid fig wasp genera (Apocrypta Coquerel and Sycoryctes Mayr) to oviposit into host figs (Moraceae, Ficus) through the fig wall. They may be inquilines, klepto-parasitoids, or hyper-parasitoids; however, further biological investigations of larval diet are required to establish their life history strategy. Watshamiella species are morphologically robust, with enlarged fore femora and tibia, and aggressively interact with other fig wasps and ants. Our observations contribute towards unravelling the complex suite of behavioural adaptations and interactions involved in the community ecology of the obligate mutualism that exists between fig wasps and their host figs.

Keywords : behaviour; biology; inquiline; parasitoid; ecology; Ficus; fig wasp; Sycoryctinae.

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