The lack of pollinator specificity in a dioecious fig tree : sympatric fig-pollinating wasps of Ficus septica in southern Taiwan

Rong-Chien LIN, Carol K.-L. YEUNG, Jonathan J. FONG, Hsy-Yu TZENG, Shou-Hsien LI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

16 Citations (Scopus)


Although species specificity between fig trees and their pollinators has been considered a classic example of obligate mutualism, increasing exceptions to the one-to-one relationship suggest that multiple pollinator species per fig host species may be a pervasive phenomenon. Based on both mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite analyses, we found three putative pollinator species ( Ceratosolen spp.) associated with Ficus spetica in southern Taiwan, two of which, that differ in color, routinely coexist within single figs. These three pollinators are substantially divergent from the pollinator of F. spetica in New Guinea, implying that wasp diversity may be highly underestimated when the one-to-one rule is assumed. Our findings not only provide the first case of coexistence of pollinators within single figs on a shared dioecious Ficus host, but also an ideal system to investigate interspecific competition and sex allocation, especially when coexisting pollinators are visually distinguishable by their colors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


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