Figs and Wasps

Are figs really full of baby wasps? It sounds like an urban legend, so the answer may surprise you. Wasps burrow into figs to lay their eggs.
While these images may not be all that appetizing, there's no reason to swear off figs quite yet. Those little insects are fig wasps, and they play an essential role in the fig's life cycle as the plant's only pollinator. That means that for pollen from one fig plant to reach another plant, fig wasps must do all the leg work. In return, the plant provides fig wasps with their only sources of food and shelter.

This arrangement is called mutualism. Both plant and wasp depend on the arrangement to survive, and without one, you wouldn't have the other.

But what happens when it's time to harvest the figs? Are the wasps still inside? Do the food companies scrape them out before they turn figs into jam? Or were the 12-year-olds right all along -- are we really eating a mouthful of sweet baby wasp paste?

How Stuff Works lays out the entire story. Link -via Holy Kaw!

(Image credit: Flickr user Xerones)

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I wonder why people fear eating arthropods. Shrimp, crabs and lobster look a lot like insects (I know they aren't), but most people relish them. Unless they're vegetarian- then they relish relish.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Figs and Wasps"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More