A tropical family of about 750 species of miniscule wasps (order Hymenoptera) that are mutualistically associated with fig plants (Ficus spp.). The associations are usually between a unique pair of fig and wasp species and are crucial for the reproduction of both. The winged female wasp enters a young floral receptacle, the flask-like syconium, and lays single eggs in many of the tiny female flowers lining its inner surface. Carrying pollen from her natal fig, she deposits it onto the stigmas during oviposition, ensuring seed production for the fig and food for her own oﬀspring. The syconium will generally not ripen without pollination. The female is trapped inside the syconium and dies there.
Aﬅer the larvae develop and pupate in seed-galls, the wingless adult males emerge first and chew holes into galls to mate with the quiescent females inside, and then cooperatively chew an opening through the syconial wall. The changed atmosphere inside the syconium wakes the females, which chew out of their galls, actively or passively pick up pollen, and leave through the opening. The females of some species actively gather and carry pollen in thoracic pockets or specialized leg structures. The cultivated fig, Ficus carica, has many varieties that no longer rely on pollination to produce edible ripe syconia. However, a few varieties still require the pollination service provided by the agaonid partner, Blastophaga psenes.