Zoochory: The Dispersal Of Plants By Animals

  • David IluzEmail author
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 16)


Zoochory is the dispersal of diaspores by animals. Animals can disperse plant seeds in several ways. Seeds can be transported on the outside of animals, a process known as epizoochory. Seed dispersal via ingestion by animals, or endozoochory, is the dispersal mechanism for most tree species. Thediaspores of endozoochorous plants are eaten by animals and humans and the hard seeds or fruit stones pass through the intestinal canal without damage (Smallwood, 1984). Synzoochory is the dispersal of seeds (nuts), which are an attractive long-term, storable food resource for animals (e.g., acorns, hazelnuts, and walnuts): the seeds are stored some distance from the parent plant, and some escape being eaten if the animal forgets them. Synzoochory is mainly performed by ants and some birds. The dispersal process that involves birds carrying plant propagules in their bills is called stomatochory, a type of synzoochory (van der Pijl, 1982). Dyszoochory is the process whereby diaspores are destroyed (eaten and digested), but some of the seeds are accidentally dropped, thus contributing to regeneration (van der Pijl, 1982).


Seed Dispersal Seed Disperser Fruit Trait Frugivorous Bird Seed Shadow 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life SciencesBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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