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Neotropical Entomology

Print version ISSN 1519-566XOn-line version ISSN 1678-8052

Neotrop. entomol. vol.38 no.5 Londrina Sept./Oct. 2009 



New occurrence of non-pollinating fig wasps (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) in Ficus microcarpa in Brazil


Nova ocorrência de vespas não-polinizadoras (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) em sicônios de Ficus microcarpa no Brasil



Fernando H A Farache; Vanessa T do Ó; Rodrigo A S Pereira

Depto. de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto/USP, Av Bandeirantes 3900, 14040-901, Ribeirão Preto, SP;,




Ficus microcarpa is an Asian fig tree that is ornamentally cultivated. The specific pollinator, Eupristina verticillata Waterston, and the non-pollinators Walkerella microcarpae Bouček and Philotrypesis emeryi Grandi, have been reported associated to F. microcarpa in Brazil. In here we report for the first time the occurrence of Odontofroggatia ishii Wiebes and Philotrypesis taiwanensis Chen et al in F. microcarpa in Brazil. Our results suggest that P. taiwanensis and O. ishii represent a recent influx of these wasps into Brazil. Considering that ~20 fig wasp species are associated with F. microcarpa in its native area, novel occurrences can be reported in the future in Brazil.

Key words: Fig wasp, Moraceae, mutualism, plant-insect interaction, Pteromalidae


Ficus microcarpa é uma figueira asiática cultivada com finalidades ornamentais. A espécie polinizadora específica, Eupristina verticillata Waterston, e as não-polinizadoras Walkerella microcarpae Bouček e Philotrypesis emeryi Grandi, foram relatadas associadas a F. microcarpa no Brasil. No presente estudo, relatamos pela primeira vez a ocorrência de Odontofroggatia ishii Wiebes e Philotrypesis taiwanensis Chen et al em F. microcarpa no Brasil. Nossos resultados sugerem que tais vespas foram introduzidas recentemente no país. Considerando que ~20 espécies de vespas são associadas a F. microcarpa em sua região de origem, novas ocorrências poderão ser registradas no futuro no Brasil.

Palavras-chave: Interação inseto-planta, Moraceae, Pteromalidae, mutualismo, vespa-de-figo



Ficus microcarpa is native to Asia and was introduced as an ornamental tree in many Brazilian towns. In 1938, its pollinator E. verticillata Waterston was introduced in North America (Nadel et al 1992), and in the early 1990's it arrived in Brazil.

Non-pollinating fig wasps developing in F. microcarpa figs in Brazil have been reported since the 1980's (Neves & Isaias 1987, Ramírez & Montero 1988, Figueiredo & Motta Jr 1993, Figueiredo et al 1995). Walkerella microcarpae Bouček was firstly reported in 1984 by Ramírez & Montero (1988). Strong sexual dimorphism occurs in this species, with winged female and wingless fighting males (Figueiredo & Motta Jr 1993). Philotrypesis emeryi Grandi was observed after 1988, in several towns in the state of São Paulo (Figueiredo et al 1995). Females of P. emeryi are winged and males are dimorphic, with fully winged and wingless forms (Beardsley 1998).

In this study, we report the occurrence of Odontofroggatia ishii Wiebes and Philotrypesis taiwanensis Chen et al in F. microcarpa figs in Brazil. We studied cultivated fig trees in urbanized areas, as F. microcarpa does not occur in forested habitats. Fig samples were taken haphazardly year along.

We sampled approximately 30 figs prior to wasp emergence in three F. microcarpa trees (total of 103 figs) at the Universidade de São Paulo, in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo State (21º10'S 47º48'W), in March and September of 2005, and in April of 2006. Figs were individualized in plastic flasks to allow all wasps to emerge. Additionally, three massive fig samples were taken from trees in Rio Claro, SP (22º19'S 47º36'W), in December, 2006. Approximately 50 figs from each tree were put in a 500 ml jar covered with a voil cloth for wasp emergence. Identifications were based on published taxonomical keys and original specific descriptions (Ishii 1934, Wiebes 1980, Bouček 1993, Beardsley 1998, Chen et al 1999). Photos were taken with a Leica MZ16 stereoscope equipped with a DFC320 digital camera coupled with an image automontage software (CombineZM software).

Eupristina verticillata, W. microcarpae, P. emeryi, P. taiwanensis and O. ishii wasps (Fig 1) were present in all samples from both localities. This is the first report of P. taiwanensis and O. ishii wasps in Brazil. Philotrypesis taiwanensis differs from P. emeryi because of its entire dark body (Fig 1C-D), the number of annelli (2 in the former and 3 in the later) and the number of mandible teeth (2 in the former and 3 in the later). Odontofroggatia ishii differs from other species of the genus because its propodeum has two rounded ridges in the anterior part, and its longitudinal ridges are connected with the posterior margin in females (Fig 1F) (Wiebes 1980). Moreover, the male gastric petiole bears a pair of conspicuous lateral tooth-like projections (Fig 1G) (Beardsley 1998).

The pollinating species E. verticillata was the most abundant species in the sampled figs (~ 50 wasps per fig). The other species occurred in lower rates in figs (2.7 to 3.6 wasps per fig in average, Table 1). Philotrypesis taiwanensis and O. ishii were less frequent (they occurred in 17 and 30% of figs, respectively) than the other species (55 to 67% of figs, Table 1).

Philotypesis taiwanensis and O. ishii have been reported in areas where F. microcarpa naturally occurs (Chen et al 1999), or where it was introduced, such as Hawaii, California and Florida (Beardsley 1998). Our results suggest that P. taiwanensis and O. ishii represent a recent influx of such wasps into Brazil. Neither species were reported in a previous exhaustive study in Southeastern Brazil (Figueiredo et al 1995). Moreover, the frequency of infested figs by P.taiwanensis and O. ishii is lower than that observed for the other three previously reported species.

At least 20 fig wasp species have already been reported in their native areas (Beardsley 1998, Chen et al 1999) and nine species were recorded in Hawaii (Beardsley 1998). Taking into account the diversity of fig wasps that inhabit F. microcarpa figs and the gradual influx of associated species in Brazil, new occurrences will probably be reported in the future. Such events open new opportunities for future studies on the fig wasp fauna in Brazil.



We thank Fernando S Santos for the English revision and Maria D S Ferreira (MEV/BCMBP/FMRP-USP) for technical support. This study was supported by IFS (grant # D/3692-1) and FAPESP (grant #04/10299-4). F A H F was supported by FAPESP (06/03177-5) and V T Ó. by PIBIC/CNPq (104670/2006-1).



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Received 20/III/07.
Accepted 11/V/09.



Edited by Fernando B Noll - UNESP

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