Mammalian Biology

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 10–16 | Cite as

Diet and seed dispersal by five marsupials (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) in a Brazilian cerrado reserve

  • Leonardo Guimaraes LessaEmail author
  • Fabiane Nepomuceno da Costa
Original Investigation


The food habits and seed dispersal promoted by five didelphid marsupials, were investigated through fecal analysis in a cerrado reserve located in the central part of the Espinhaço mountain range in Minas Gerais state, southeastern Brazil. The studied species presented a remarkable constancy in their diets and just for C. philander a seasonal change in diet seems to be present with a high consumption of fruits during the wetter season. Arthropods such as hymenopterans, coleopterans and homopterans were the main food resource detected but seeds belonging to pioneer plants were found with high frequencies in samples of all didelphids. Fruits of pioneer plants belonging to the families Melastomataceae (Clidemia urceolata and Miconia holocericea) and Rubiaceae (Psychotria barbiflora and P. capitata) present high germination rates and were among the mostly consumed. In spite of the differences observed in food preferences, all of the didelphids studied must be considered effective seed dispersers of pioneer plants.


Didelphids Diet Seed dispersal Cerrado Espinhaço range 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonardo Guimaraes Lessa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fabiane Nepomuceno da Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFederal University of Jequitinhonha and Mucuri ValleysDiamantinaBrazil

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