A male Ficus midotis fig fruiting at the Sabah Ficus Germplasm Centre at Tabin in Sabah. Note that male figs swell considerably and turn pale yellow when the pollinating fig wasps which hatched inside the fig are about to leave. Male figs are not eaten by any animals which must be due to an unpleasant taste. The change in size and colour is a signal to birds not to waste time because the fig is not edible. In contrast female Ficus midotis figs turn bright orange when they are ripe to attract birds to eat the ripe figs and disperse the seeds.
The white dots on the surface of the figs are glands which provide food for ants encouraging the ants to patrol the surface of the fig when the fig wasps are inside. The nasty taste and the patrolling ants protect the fig wasps inside the fig from fig wasp predators.
Despite the fact that male figs are not eaten by birds the fig wasps produced by male figs provide abundant food for insectivorous birds especially aerial feeders such as swallows. swifts and swiftlets.