Nothing with eyes please! So that’s no figs for you.

fig treeFig trees are one of the most important food plants for frugivores (fruit eaters). They produce fruit year round and many animals from monkeys to small insects rely on the presence of such a plant to support them during the harsher times when food is scarce.

So lets give you the low down on this weird and wonderful fact. Figs that we call fruit are actually inverted flowers (inside you may call it) which require pollination by an animal. fortunately there is a wasp unsurprisingly known as the fig wasp that has figured out a way to enter the fig.

fig waspFig wasps require very particular conditions to lay their eggs and raise their young, amazingly the figs have exactly that. But when the female fig wasp enters the fig their wings and antennae are ripped off as the tunnel is so narrow, so it’s a one way ticket. When their young have hatched and are ready to leave, the short lived males burrow through the fig  making tunnels for the females to escape. The young females carry pollen from their nursery fig and take it to another when they are ready to lay their eggs.

If the young females climb inside a male fig flower the conditions are not suitable for her to la her eggs, however at least she pollinated the flower.

THOSE CRUNCHY BITS

No, the are not the skeleton of the deceased wasp they are the fig seeds. The fig produces ficin an enzyme which breaks down the wasp remains into proteins, ready for your easy consumption.

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