Which one of the following shows a unique relationship with an insect that has coevolved with it and that is the only insect that can pollinate this tree?

(a) Fig
(b) Mahua
(c) Sandalwood
(d) Silk cotton

The correct answer is (a) Fig.

  • Fig: The fig tree has a unique relationship with the fig wasp, which is the only insect that can pollinate it. This relationship is a classic example of coevolution, where both species have evolved together to become mutually dependent. The fig wasp lays its eggs inside the fig fruit, and in the process, it pollinates the fig flowers, ensuring the reproduction of both the fig tree and the wasp.
  • Mahua: The mahua tree is pollinated by various insects, including bees and moths, but it does not have a unique relationship with a single insect species for pollination.
  • Sandalwood: Sandalwood trees are primarily pollinated by wind and insects, but there is no specific insect that has a unique coevolved relationship with sandalwood for pollination.
  • Silk cotton: The silk cotton tree is pollinated by a variety of insects and birds, and it does not rely on a single insect species for its pollination.

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  • Coevolution: This is the process where two or more species influence each other’s evolutionary pathway. In the case of the fig tree and the fig wasp, both species have developed traits that benefit each other, leading to a highly specialized and interdependent relationship.
  • Mutualism: The relationship between the fig tree and the fig wasp is an example of mutualism, where both species benefit. The fig tree gets pollinated, and the fig wasp gets a place to lay its eggs and a food source for its larvae.
  • Pollination: This is the transfer of pollen from the male part of a flower to the female part, enabling fertilization. Insects, birds, wind, and water can all act as pollinators.
  • Specialized Pollination: Some plants have evolved to be pollinated by a single species of insect, which can lead to a highly efficient but risky pollination strategy. If the insect species declines, the plant’s reproduction can be severely affected.
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Health: The coevolution of plants and their pollinators is crucial for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem health. The loss of a pollinator species can have cascading effects on the ecosystem.

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