Nematodes Associated with Fig Wasps, Pegoscapus spp. (Agaonidae), and Syconia of Native Floridian Figs (Ficus spp.)


  • Robin M. Giblin-Davis
  • Barbara J. Center
  • Hannah Nadel
  • J. Howard Frank
  • William Ramirez B.


Syconia in successive developmental phases from Ficus laevigata Vahl (F. citrifolia Miller sensu DeWolf 1960) (Moraceae) and successive life stages of its fig wasp pollinator, Pegoscapus sp. (P. assuetus (Grandi) sensu Wiebes 1983) (Agaonidae) were dissected to elucidate their association with two undescribed species of nematodes. Parasitodiplogazter sp. (Diplogasteridae) are transported by female Pegoscapus sp. into the cavity of a phase B syconium as third-stage juveniles (J3), where they molt to the J4 stage and greatly increase in size in the hemocoel of the fig wasp after it begins to pollinate and oviposit in female florets. The J4 exit the wasp cadaver in a phase B or early phase C syconium, and molt to adults that mate and lay eggs. New J3 infect the next generation of female or male wasps as they emerge from their galls in phase D figs. Mated entomogenous females of Schistonchus sp. (Aphelenchoididae) are transported in the hemocoel of female wasps to the fig cavity of a phase B syconium. Female Schistonchus sp. exit the wasp and parasitize immature male florets causing an exudate, the development of hypertrophied epidermal cells of the anther filaments and anthers, and aberrations of the anther filament, anthers, and pollen. At least one generation of Schistonchus sp. occurs in the male florets. Entomogenous females appear at about the time that fig wasps molt to adults in their galls in late phase C syconia. Another Schistonchus sp. was recovered from females of P. mexicanus (Ashmead) (P. jimenezi (Grandi) sensu Wiebes 1983) and from the syconia of F. aurea Nuttall and appears to have a life cycle similar to that described for the Schistonchus sp. from F. laevigata. Key words: Agaonidae, Aphelenchoididae, Diplogasteridae, Ficus aurea, Ficus laevigata, fig, life history, nematode, parasitism, Parasitodiplogaster sp., Pegoscapus spp., Schistonchus spp.