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Is it true there are dead wasps in figs? © iStock

Is it true there are dead wasps in figs?

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Those crunchy bits in figs - wasps or seeds? The answer is probably not as obvious as you first thought...

Asked by: Anonymous


Certain types of fig are male and female and so require a special breed of wasp to pollinate the females.

The female wasp crawls inside through a hole so narrow that she loses her wings in the process and becomes trapped. If the fig is a male, she lays her eggs inside. These hatch into larvae that burrow out, turn into wasps and fly off, carrying fig pollen with them. If the wasp climbs into a female fig, she pollinates it, but cannot lay her eggs and just dies alone.

Luckily for us, the female fig produces an enzyme that digests this wasp completely. The crunchy bits are seeds, not wasp parts.

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Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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