Oecologia

, Volume 94, Issue 2, pp 255–261 | Cite as

Post-dispersal predation and scatterhoarding of Dipteryx panamensis (Papilionaceae) seeds by rodents in Panama

  • Pierre-Michel Forget
Original Papers

Abstract

In tropical rain forests of Central America, the canopy tree Dipteryx panamensis (Papilionaceae) fruits when overall fruit biomass is low for mammals. Flying and arboreal consumers feed on D. panamensis and drop seeds under the parent or disperse them farther away. Seeds on the ground attract many vertebrate seed-eaters, some of them potential secondary seed dispersers. The fate of seeds artificially distributed to simulate bat dispersal was studied in relation to fruitfall periodicity and the visiting frequency of diurnal rodents at Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Panama. The frequency of visits by agoutis is very high at the beginning of fruitfall, but in the area close (<50 m) to fruiting trees (Dipteryx-rich area) it declines throughout fruiting, whereas it remains unchanged farther (>50 m) away (Dipteryx-poor and Gustavia-rich area). Squirrels were usually observed in the Dipteryx-rich area. Along with intense post-dispersal seed predation by rodents in the Dipteryx-rich area, a significant proportion of seeds were cached by rodents in the Dipteryx-poor area. Post-dispersal seed predation rate was inversely related to hoarding rate. A significantly greater proportion of seeds was cached in March, especially more than 100 m from the nearest fruiting tree. This correlates with the mid-fruiting period, i.e. during the height of D. panamensis fruiting, when rodents seem to be temporarily satiated with the food supply at parent trees. Hoarding remained high toward April, i.e. late in the fruiting season of D. panamensis. Low survival of scatterhoarded seeds suggests that the alternative food supply over the animal's home-ranges in May–June 1990 was too low to promote survival of cached seeds. Seedlings are assumed to establish in the less-used area of the rodents' home-range when overall food supply is sufficient to satiate post-dispersal predators.

Key words

Dipteryx panamensis Dasyprocta punctata Sciurus granatensis Post-dispersal seed predation Scatteihoarding 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre-Michel Forget
    • 1
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaRepublic of Panama
  2. 2.Laboratoire d'Ecologie GénéraleMuséum National d'Histoire NaturelleBrunoyFrance

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