Ficus parietalis (female tree)  fruiting in one “big bang”,  Labuk Road, Sandakan in September 2014. Fruiting in one big bang has numerous benefits for fig trees. (1) Lots of bright red fruit are a powerful advertisement to encourage birds to travel long distances to feed and quickly remove the fruit before it rots. (2) A steady small supply of fruit encourages seed predators to hang around the tree, whilst big bang fruiting results in predator satiation, so most of the fruit is eaten by seed dispersers, not seed predators.

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However, in between producing massive crops  of fruit, many figs produce a very small small number of figs almost continuously as with this Ficus parietalis at the Sepilok B&B in September 2014.  In fact it is quite rare to find a mature fig tree without a single fruit on it.

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Note that these odd figs will mature at different dates. Producing small numbers of figs at odd times may be an evolutionary strategy to ensure that the local fig wasp population does not die out. It may even be discovered one day that these odd figs  on the same tree may be different sexes- an hypothesis waiting to be tested !.


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Note the rough white spots on both these figs. It is believed that these are glands  which produce a waxy exudate to attract ants which patrol the fig and stop parasitic wasps attacking the fig and the benficial fig wasps.