Ecological Research

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 495–501

Effects of macaque ingestion on seed destruction and germination of a fleshy-fruited tree, Eurya emarginata

Original Articles

DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1703.2004.00663.x

Cite this article as:
OTANI, T. Ecol Res (2004) 19: 495. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1703.2004.00663.x

Effects of macaque ingestion were examined on both seed destruction during passage through the gut and germination enhancement after defecation, using typically endozoochorous fruits of Eurya emarginata. Mechanical and chemical actions associated with the ingestion were also examined. A fruit-feeding experiment found that 4.4% of ingested seeds could pass intact through the gut of Japanese macaques. No significant difference was detected between the seed passage percentages of six Eurya emarginata trees despite individual variation in seed weight and hardness, implying that mastication is a major factor in the severe seed mortality during the gut passage. Seeds in intact fruits showed lower germination percentage and longer germination delay than seeds with the flesh removed artificially. In contrast, no enhancement in germination was observed after passage through the gut. A series of seed treatment experiments indicated that seed abrasion did not affect germination percentage, though acid and heat-exposure enhanced the germination. The two factors, severe seed destruction and germination enhancement by flesh removal, opposed each other. With the survival proportion of uningested seeds taken as 1.0, the survival proportion of ingested seeds was estimated as 0.49 with the 95% confidence interval of 0.14–1.46, which indicated no significant difference between the proportions of ingested- and uningested-seeds.

Key words

fleshy fruit germination enhancement Japanese macaque mastication, seed dispersal 

Copyright information

© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteTohoku Research CenterMoriokaJapan
  2. 2.Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteKyushu Research CenterKumamotoJapan

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