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Quantification of four different post-dispersal seed deposition patterns after dung beetle activity

  • R. F. Braga (a1) (a2), R. Carvalho (a3), E. Andresen (a4), D. V. Anjos (a5), E. Alves-Silva (a6) and J. Louzada (a1)...

Abstract:

Primary seed dispersal of many rain-forest seeds occurs through defecation by mammals. Dung beetles are attracted to the defecations and through their dung-processing behaviour these insects change the initial pattern of seed deposition. Final seed deposition patterns, i.e. where and how seeds are deposited after dung beetle activity has taken place, may strongly depend on seed size. In this study we addressed the following question: Do different sizes of seeds have different deposition patterns following dung beetle processing? We conducted a field experiment in lowland Amazonian rain forest in Brazil using 200-g dung-piles containing seed mimics of three sizes: 3.5, 8.6 and 15.5 mm long. Seed deposition condition after dung beetle activity was dependent on seed size. Small seeds were more often buried in beetle tunnels, while medium and large seeds more often remained on the soil surface, either clean or still covered by dung. A low proportion of seeds of all sizes remained on the soil surface covered by loose soil excavated by dung beetles. We speculate that the latter deposition pattern, though not very frequent, might be highly favourable for both seed survival and seedling establishment.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. E-mail: raqueluly@gmail.com

References

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Keywords

Quantification of four different post-dispersal seed deposition patterns after dung beetle activity

  • R. F. Braga (a1) (a2), R. Carvalho (a3), E. Andresen (a4), D. V. Anjos (a5), E. Alves-Silva (a6) and J. Louzada (a1)...

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