n African Entomology - Fig wasps as vectors of mites and nematodes




Females of the pollinator fig wasp Wiebes carry mites ( sp. nr. ) and nematodes ( sp.) between figs of in Grahamstown, South Africa. The mites are phoretic on the outside of the wasps and phytophagous, feeding on galled flowers. The nematodes are transported inside the wasps and eventually eat them. Both mites and nematodes were present throughout the year. The prevalence (fig occupancy rates) of mites and nematodes in different crops ranged between zero and 100 %. Crop size did not influence the prevalence of either mites or nematodes. Contrasting dispersion patterns and relationships with fig wasp foundress numbers indicate that the mites, but not the nematodes, disperse between figs after being carried there by the pollinators, and they may also utilize non-pollinating fig wasps as vectors.


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