, Volume 106, Issue 4, pp 500–506

Effects of ants, ground beetles and the seed-fall patterns on myrmecochory of Erythronium japonicum Decne. (Liliaceae)

  • Kyohsuke Ohkawara
  • Seigo Higashi
  • Masashi Ohara

DOI: 10.1007/BF00329708

Cite this article as:
Ohkawara, K., Higashi, S. & Ohara, M. Oecologia (1996) 106: 500. doi:10.1007/BF00329708


Erythronium japonicum (Liliaceae) inhabits deciduous mesic forests of Hokkaido, northern Japan. Myrmecochory of this species was investigated, especially the dispersal frequency, the effect of seed predators and the seed fall pattern. In the quadrat census using marked seeds of E. japonicum, the ant Myrmica kotokui frequently transported the seeds. However, the frequency of seed removal was low and most seeds were dispersed as little as 1 m or less. The spatial distribution of E. japonicum individuals was nearly random and most seedlings were established 5–20 cm away from the fertile plants, indicating that even this small scale of seed dispersal contributes to avoiding crowding of seedlings. Some arthropods, e.g. springtails, spiders and ticks, hindered seed dispersal by devouring elaiosomes and seeds. Although ground beetle species also damaged seeds and elaiosomes, a few of them exhibited seed removal behaviour. E. japonicum dropped their seeds not all at once but bit by bit, taking 3–6 days to drop all seeds. This seed-fall pattern was effective in raising the frequency of seed removal by ants and reducing seed predation by some arthropods.

Key words

MyrmecochoryElaiosomeAntGround beetle

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyohsuke Ohkawara
    • 1
  • Seigo Higashi
    • 2
  • Masashi Ohara
    • 3
  1. 1.Ecological laboratory, Faculty of ScienceKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Environmental Earth ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  3. 3.Laboratory of Plant Genetics and Evolution, Faculty of AgricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan