Rev 09/25/2023

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            Ficophagus Davies, Ye, Kanzaki, Bartholomaeus, Zeng & Giblin-Davis, 2015

Type species of the genus: Ficophagus aureus DeCrappeo & Giblin-Davis, 2001


Note: Davies et al., 2017 transferred most of the species described under the gaenus Schistonchus by Bajaj and Tomar (2014) to Ficophagus

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Morphology and Anatomy:

Schistonchus is characterised by having the excretory pore opening in the region of, or posterior to, the metacorpus; Ficophagus  by having the excretory pore opening very near the cephalic region; and Martininema  by having it opening at the anterior end of the metacorpus. Several species of Schistonchus have a labial disc but there is no evidence of a labial disc in either Ficophagus or Martininema (Davies et al., 2015)..

Ref: Nickle, 1970; Davies et al., 2015  

Body size range for the species of this genus in the database - Click:

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Frequently found associated with sycones (enclosed infrutescences) of Ficus spp.  Primarily associated with Ficus syconia and agaonid wasps. (Davies et al., 2015).

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Biology and Ecology:

Ficophagus spp. are probably transported by fig wasps.

Many species of Ficophagus have been reported to grow and reproduce within the syconia of various Ficus spp.Some Ficus spp. can host more than one species of Ficophagus (Bartholomaeus et al., 2012).

A fig syconium is an swollen fleshy receptacle which containing between 50 and 7000 ovaries, represented by florets, on its inner surface. It is closed off from most organisms by the ostiole. Syconia can be monoecious and contain mainly female florets, and produce seeds and pollen. or dioecious with male and female florets in different plants..

Iindividual florets inside the syconium are pollinated by fig wasps and then develop into achenes or drupes, in which the seeds are enclosed by a layer of endocarp. Consequently, the fig "fruit" is actually an enclosure contining many fruits (between ten and thousands depending on the species). 

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Life Cycle:

For Ecophysiological Parameters for this genus, click 

The nematodes feed on fig epidermal cells, mature and lay eggs which develop into males and females. These adults produce a new generation of entomophilic females which mate, and penetrate the new generation of female wasps. Thus when the wasps emerge, ready to seek fresh sycones, they carry fertilised entomophilic nematodes in their haemolymph. The pre-reproductive female nematode, which is the  dispersal stage of Ficophagus and related genera, use volatiles and cuticular hydrocarbons from the female pollinating wasps to select the appropriate wasp vector (Davies et al. 2015).

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Ecosystem Functions and Services:



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Bajaj, H.K. & Tomar, V.V.S. (2014). Descriptions of new and known species of Schistonchus Cobb, 1927 (Aphelenchida: Aphelenchoididae) from syconia of Ficus trees growing at Hisar, Haryana. Indian Journal of Nematology 44, 193-211.

Bartholomaeus, F., Davies, K.A., Ye, W. and Giblin-Davis, R.M. 2012. Schistonchus (Aphelenchoididae) from Ficus benjamini in Australia, with description of S. benjamiina sp.n. Nematology 13:1005-1013.

Davies, K.A., Ye, W., Kanzaki, N., Bartholomaeus, F., Zeng, Y. & Giblin-Davis, R.M. 2015. A review of the taxonomy, phylogeny, distribution and co-evolution of Schistonchus Cobb, 1927 with proposal of Ficophagus n. gen. and Martininema n. gen. (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae). Nematology 17: 761- 829. DOI: 10.1163/15685411-00002907

Davies, K.A., Ye, W.,  Kanzaki, N., Herre, E.A., Esquivel, A.  & Giblin-Davis, R.M. 2017. Two new species and three morphospecies of Ficophagus Davies & Bartholomaeus, 2015 (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae) from Ficus subgenus Pharmacosycea (Moraceae) in Central America. Nematology19:351-374. DOI: 10.1163/15685411-00003055

Davies, K.A., Bartlolomaeus, F., Li, D.L., Zhao, Z.Q., Ye, W. and Giblin-Davis, R.M. 2020. Ficophagus (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae) from sycones of Ficus subgenus Urostigma, sections Malvanthera and Urostigma, in eastern Australia. Nematology 22:627-653.7

DeCrappeo N., Giblin-Davis R.M. 2001. Schistonchus aureus n. sp. and Schistonchus laevigatus n. sp. (Aphelenchoididae): associates of native Floridian Ficus spp. and their Pegoscapus pollinators (Agaonidae). Journal of Nematology 33: 91-103.

Nickle, W.R. 1970. A Taxonomic Review of the Genera of the Aphelenchoidea (Fuchs, 1937) Thorne, 1949 (Nematoda: Tylenchida) . J. Nematology 2:375-392.

Zeng, W., D. Zhang, J. Huang, Y. Zeng, W. Ye., and R.M. Giblin-Davis. 2020. Ficophagus chaozhouensis n. sp. (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae), an associate of Ficus hirta Vahl var. roxburghii (Miq.) King in China. Nematology 22:219-312.

Zeng, Y., Huang, J., Zhang, D., Zeng, W., Shi, R., Zhang, Y., Peng, Y., Ye, W., Giblin-Davis, R.M. 2019. Ficophagus auriculatae n. sp. (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae), an associate of the Ficus auriculata-complex in China. Nematology 21:497-508.



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Revised: September 25, 2023