Wasps & Figwasps

Wasp illustratedMany people think wasps are a nuisance, or are afraid of wasps because they sting. But wasps are also beneficial. As they are predatory, and capture insects, they provide vital ecological pest control services. Wasps also require pollen and nectar, and are common visitors to flowers. They carry pollen as they move around flowers and serve as pollinators.

Figwasps are the tiny pollinators of mighty fig trees with whom they have a very special relationship. Figs trees have their flowers inside the fruit. The figwasp is adapted to be able to burrow its way through a tiny opening into the fruit to breed and pollinate the flowers.

There are many species of fig trees in East Africa, and each can be pollinated only by a particular species of figwasp. The tree cannot survive without the figwasp, and the wasp cannot survive without the tree. They are wedded together forever. It is female figwasps who pollinate, because they are able to fly between trees. Males never leave the fig they are born in.


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Male velvet wasp on euphorbia by D. J. Martins
Male velvet wasp (Mutillidae) on euphorbia by D. J. Martins
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Spider hunting Pompilid wasp on euphorbia by D. J. Martins
Spider hunting Pompilid wasp on euphorbia by D. J. Martins
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Spechid tachysphex wasp on euphorbia flowers by D. J. Martins
Spechid tachysphex wasp on euphorbia flowers by D. J. Martins
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Mammoth wasp by D. J. Martins
Mammoth wasp on wild daisy flowers by D. J. Martins
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Parasitic wasp on Acacia seyal flower by D. J. Martins
Parasitic wasp on Acacia seyal flower by D. J. Martins
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Mud dauber wasp visiting flowers by D. J. Martins
Mud dauber wasp visiting flowers by D. J. Martins
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