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Maintenance of Species-Specificity in a Neotropical Fig: Pollinator Wasp Mutualism

Judith L. Bronstein
Oikos
Vol. 48, No. 1 (Jan., 1987), pp. 39-46
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3565686
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3565686
Page Count: 8
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Maintenance of Species-Specificity in a Neotropical Fig: Pollinator Wasp Mutualism
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Abstract

While the one-to-one specificity of the fig - pollinator mutualism is often discussed in reviews of coevolution, the means by which specificity of the interaction is enforced and the frequency of pollinator errors have not been examined. Specificity at different stages in the interaction was studied in a common neotropical fig, Ficus pertusa L., particularly in relation to its sympatric congener F. tuerckheimii Standley. 99% of pollinators arriving at sticky traps on flowering figs were the specialist species. Foreign pollinators virtually never entered F. pertusa syconia to oviposit or emerged from mature fruits. Pollinators arrive at F. pertusa trees in a one-day burst that is well timed with the presence of unpollinated syconia, providing evidence for the existence of a species-specific volatile attractant. Some nonpollinating wasps associated with F. pertusa appear to use the same attractant to locate the tree.

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