Life and Death of a fig wasp

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Ecosystem: a group of different plants and animals that live together and are dependent on the area in which they live.

Fig: a hollow, round structure that holds the flowers of a fig tree and which is later filled with the sweet and seedy fig fruit.

Pollinate: moving pollen from the male to the female component of a flower as part of the fertilization process in plants. Birds and insects often move pollen from flower to flower when gathering nectar and they are therefore called pollinators... more

Figs in Food Webs


Over 1,274 species of birds and mammals eat figs, including humans.

Figs are among the most important plants in tropical ecosystems because they provide food for many animals. Over 1,274 species of birds and mammals eat figs. In other words, more than 10 percent of all bird species and 6 percent of all mammal species include figs in their diet. And that’s just among vertebrates! We don’t even know how many insects uses figs for food, but you can bet that it’s a lot.

why eat figs?

Why are figs so popular with fruit-eating animals? One reason is because they are easy to eat. An animal doesn’t need any fancy adaptations to get to the sweet parts of a fig fruit.

Another reason so many animals eat figs is because figs are widely available. Figs grow on every continent except Antarctica, meaning lots of different critters have the chance to find them in their habitat.

Not only are figs widespread, in some areas, they are available year-round. Unlike many plants, which produce fruits only in a special season, you can find ripe figs in a rainforest at any time of the year.

Additional images via Wikimedia Commons. Fresh fig dish image by Maor X.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Figs in Food Webs
  • Author(s): Dani Moore
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: October 11, 2012
  • Date accessed: February 17, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

Dani Moore. (2012, October 11). Figs in Food Webs. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved February 17, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Dani Moore. "Figs in Food Webs". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 11 October, 2012.

MLA 2017 Style

Dani Moore. "Figs in Food Webs". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 11 Oct 2012. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 17 Feb 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
Fresh figs in a dish

Even people eat figs! Have you ever tried something with figs in it?

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