One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A minute Old World wasp which lays its eggs inside the flower of the wild fig. It was introduced into the New World to effect cross-fertilization of the cultivated fig.
"Blastophaga psenes", family "Agaonidae", superfamily "Chalcidoidea"
- ‘The team used a model based on known coevolved relationships between organisms such as fig trees and the fig wasps that pollinate them, and parasitic butterflies and their host ants.’
- ‘In both ants and fig wasps, male morphology and the place of mating are not completely linked.’
- ‘There are nearly a thousand different species of fig wasps, each a precise, exquisite synchrony, the product of millions of years of evolution.’
- ‘It is remarkable that in the 4th century bc both Aristotle and Theophrastus realized the need for the flower to be visited by the tiny fig wasp if the fruit were to form and not merely fall off.’
- ‘Some species of male fig wasps have no mouth and thus cannot eat; these are entirely fighting and mating machines - a very strange kind of animal with a very short life.’
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