Birds of Indian Subcontinent

Secondary Seed Dispersal Systems, Frugivorous Lizards and Predatory Birds in Insular Volcanic Badlands

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:Nogales, M, Padilla, DP, Nieves, C, Illera, JC, Traveset, A
Journal:Journal of Ecology
Date Published:2007
ISBN Number:00220477
Keywords:Falco, Falco tinnunculus, Falconidae, Laniidae, Lanius, Lanius meridionalis
Abstract:1. Secondary seed dispersal occurs whenever a seed is dispersed in two or more different dispersal events, so that different dispersal agents (e.g. animal frugivores or invertebrates) contribute to different events. Three secondary seed dispersal systems, in which lizards and predatory birds participate, are studied in Lanzarote (Canary Islands). 2. Seeds from all three plant species studied (Lycium intricatum, Rubiafruticosa and Asparagus nesiotes) were found with the remains of lizards (Gallotia atlantica) when they appeared inside shrike (Lanius meridionalis) and kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) pellets. This suggests that these two avian predators might secondarily disperse these plants by incidentally ingesting seeds when they prey upon the frugivorous lizards. 3. Lycium and Rubia seeds dispersed by Falco had significantly thinner seed coats compared to the other treatments (Gallotia and Lanius) and to uningested seeds. Correlated with this result, seed hardness increased from Lycium (the softest coat), to Rubia (intermediate values), to Asparagus. 4. Seed viability was high in all three species, although both viability and germination were significantly reduced in seeds of Lycium and Rubia dispersed by Falco. 5. The seed distribution was markedly different, Gallotia being an important disperser in the open ground microhabitats, Lanius in hillocks and Falco in hills. Because all three plant species were present in all these microhabitats, our observations suggest that the dispersal of these plants might be associated with the differential use of the habitat by the different dispersers. 6. Synthesis: Contrary to some long-distance seed dispersal (LDD) paradigms, the complex seed dispersal systems we describe are common and affect an important number of seeds that are moved each year to particular microhabitats. Finally, the simultaneous ecological factors analysed in this study support the hypotheses that diplochory by double endozoochory could have played a more important role in LDD events than is currently recognized, both in recent volcanic areas (lowlands) and also probably in the colonization of other subtropical islands.
Short Title:Journal of Ecology
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith