Shavez Cheema holding a ripe male Ficus punctata fig  which had fallen to the ground at Tawau  Hills from a fruting liana.

In answer to the question  What eats male figs ? The answer is that nothing eats male figs. Ficus punctata is one of c. 100 fig species in Borneo which are dioecious with separate male and female plants producing male and female figs respectively. The purpose of male figs is to produce  male pollen and fig wasps not seeds. When the male figs are ripe, fig wasps emerge from the gall flower ovaries in the male figs and carry the pollen to the nearest ripe female fig.The wasps crawl inside the female fig through the ostiole and fertilize the female flowers. The flowers which have been fertilized later produce seeds.

Photos and information provided by Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing WONG of 1Stop Borneo Wildlife.


The gibbon is holding a giant black ripe male Ficus punctata fig growing on a male liana. After a quick bite the gibbon rejected the male fig and let it fall to the ground.

None of the large tasty orange male figs shown in the photo above will ever be eaten. They will all fall and rot on the ground.

Female Ficus punctata figs are often eaten by gibbons but not male figs. Obviously male figs must taste very nasty to a gibbon but are probably not poisonous. However  this has yet to be tested.