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What happens inside a fig?

We are now enjoying the fig season, but did you know how incredible they are apart from the taste?

an open fig

Figs are typically pollinated by tiny wasps known as fig wasps. The process is fascinating, unique to figs and mutually beneficial. When the female flowers inside the immature fruit are ready for pollination the fig emits an enticing aroma that attracts only female wasps of the specific type for that tree. Female fig wasps enter the fruit through a small opening, known as the "ostiole," losing its wings on the way. Inside, they lay their eggs in the female flowers, which are located on the inner surface of the fig and will become seeds. While laying eggs, the female wasp pollinates the flowers with pollen from the fig when she was born and eventually dies inside. The larvae mature inside the seeds and after a few weeks the wingless males emerge to mate with the females that come next. By this time, male flowers are ripe and full of pollen, which is collected by the female wasps, who then get outside searching for another fruit where they can lay their eggs. Pollinated seeds mature and can spread.

This fine-tuned process is an incredible example of coevolution.


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