Symposium: Insect Behavioral Ecology--'91: Escapees and Accomplices: The Naturalization of Exotic Ficus and their Associated Faunas in Florida

Hannah Nadel, J. Howard Frank, R. J. Knight Jr.


Over 60 exotic Ficus (fig) species have been introduced into southern Florida as ornamentals. Three of these, F. altissima Blume, F. benghalensis L., and F. microcarpa L. are now weedy because they are pollinated routinely by immigrant agaonid wasps [Eupristina sp., Eupristina masoni Saunders, and Parapristina verticillata (Waterston) respectively]. Conditions for colonization by these wasps appear to have been met, and are potentially suitable for pollination of two other fig species. Four other immigrant wasp species (three pteromalids and a torymid) occupy the fruits of F. microcarpa and may interact with the pollinating wasps. Such interactions are more complex, but scarcely understood, in the native F. aurea Nuttall and F. citrifolia P. Miller, in which at least 10 and 14 species respectively of other animals occur routinely. These other animals include Hymenoptera (Torymidae, Eurytomidae, and Pteromalidae), Diptera (Cecidomyiidae), Coleoptera (Staphylinidae), Acarina (Tarsonemidae), and Nematoda (Diplogasteridae and Aphelenchoididae). Because of their potentially negative effect on agaonid populations, non-pollinating fig faunas should be examined to determine whether they may play a role in control of weedy figs.

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