Escapees and accomplices: the naturalization of exotic Ficus and their associated faunas in Florida.
Over 60 exotic Ficus species have been introduced into southern Florida as ornamentals. Three of these, F. altissima, F. benghalensis, F. microcarpa, are now weedy because they are pollinated routinely by immigrant aganoid wasps (Eupristina sp., E. masoni and Parapristina verticillata, resp.). Conditions for colonization by these wasps appear to have been met, and are potentially suitable for pollination of 2 other fig species. Four other immigrant wasp species (3 pteromalids and a torymid) occupy the fruits of F. microcarpa and may interact with the pollinating wasps. Such interactions are more complex, but scarcely understood, in the native F. aurea and F. citrifolia in which at least 10 and 14 species, resp., of other animals occurred routinely in synconia collected in 1988-91. These other animals included Hymenoptera (Torymidae, Eurytomidae and Pteromalidae), Diptera (Cecidomyiidae), Coleoptera (Staphylinidae), Acari (Tarsonemidae) and Nematoda (Diplogasteridae and Aphelenchoididae). Because of their potentially negative effect on agaonid populations, non-pollinating fig faunas should be examined to determine whether they may play a role in control of weedy figs. The paper was presented at a symposium on insect behavioural ecology, held in 1991.