, Volume 153, Issue 1-2, pp 121-132

Vertical stratification of figs and fig-eaters in a Bornean lowland rain forest: how is the canopy different?

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Fig trees (Ficus spp; Moraceae) are a common constituent of many tropical forests, where they produce figs that are eaten by a wide range of bird and mammal species. In our Bornean field site six Ficus seed dispersal guilds can be recognised, differentially attracting subsets of the frugivore community. Guild membership appears to be determined by figs' size, colour, crop size and height above ground, and frugivores' size, sensory and locomotory physiology and foraging height. Vertical stratification therefore appears to be an important determinant of fig and frugivore partitioning. The guild structure observed is discussed with respect to implications for seed dispersal and the differences between the canopy and understorey. Regarding figs eaten primarily by birds, larger fruit and crops can be found in the canopy where they are exposed to larger assemblages of potential frugivores than those presented in the understorey.