If you are filling your plate at a banquet and see a tray of wasps in the midst of a selection of fruit, it’s a safe bet that you would take a pass on the insects. If one of your selections of fruit includes figs, you’re probably going to get a nice mouthful of wasp in the process.
Figs and wasps have a curious symbiotic relationship. The fig depends upon the wasp for pollination. Wasp queens deposit their eggs in figs. At the same time, the queen sheds pollen from other fig plants. The queen also provides food for the fig by dying and leaving her corpse to be digested by the fig’s enzymes.
Quickly after hatching, the little wasps set about mating. The males spend the rest of their short lives carving exit tunnels from the fig, allowing the females to escape, find another fig, and start the process all over again. The males never leave the fruit. They stay behind and are mostly digested by the fig’s enzymes.
Figs are an excellent source of potassium and fiber. Much of that fiber, however, is of the animal variety and not native to the plant. For this reason, there is significant debate as to whether those who observe vegan diets are permitted to eat figs.
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