(As an aside, most figs and other fruits contain insects, both dead and alive. Fig wasps help fig trees to bear fruit, though, and the bug matter provides consumers with extra protein!)
Once the female fig wasp drills through the fruit to larvae, she deposits her own eggs there. As they develop, they will parasitize the larvae, giving baby wasps a nutritional boost.
The mother wasp's ovipositor is a remarkable tool since it is flexible yet sturdy. It can bend, flex, and tolerate massive buckling forces.
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The scientists measured the hardness of the teeth at the end of this tool and recorded them as being at .5 GPa, which is a high reading.
As Gundiah said, "That is almost as hard as the acrylic cement used for dental implants."
Gundiah is now attempting to design a minute boring tool to duplicate that of the wasp. Such tiny devices could have medical and other useful applications in future.
Photo: a female parasitic fig wasp. Credit: Lakshminath Kundanati.