Biodiv Sci ›› 2004, Vol. 12 ›› Issue (5): 494-500.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2004061

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Seed dispersal of the pioneer shrub Rhodomyrtus tomentosa by frugivorous birds and ants

WEI Ming-Si1, CHEN Zhang-He1*, REN Hai2, ZOU Fa-Sheng3, YIN Zuo-Yun2,4   

  1. 1 College of Life Science, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631
    2 South China Botanical Garden,Chinese Academy of Sciences,Guangzhou510650
    3 South China Institute of Endangered Animals,Guangzhou 510260
    4 Guangdong Research Institute of Forestry, Guangzhou 510520
  • Received:2004-04-25 Revised:2004-08-31 Online:2004-09-20 Published:2004-09-20
  • Contact: CHEN Zhang-He

Abstract: Field work was done in Heshan city, Guangdong Province on seed dispersal of Rhodomyrtus tomentosa by frugivorous birds and ants. R. tomentosa is a very common pioneer species in the South China, and its pulp is rich in glucide and fat. Pycnonotus jocosus and P. sinensis were the birds that ate R. tomentosa fruits and dispersed the seeds in the study area, and the later was more than the former in number during the observation period. The seed number of this shrub in the feces of P. jocosus and P. sinensis caught in mist nets were 8.0±3.0 and 10.0 ±2.0, respectively. Two species of ants, Pheidologetion diversus and Paratrechina flavipes, were observed eating R. tomentosa pulp.Pheidologetion diversus and another ant species Pheidole meihuashanensis were observed carrying the seeds. The longest distances of movement by Pheidologetion diversus and Pheidole meihuashanensis were 4 m and 5 m, respectively, and the mean distances of dispersal by these agents were 1.1±0.09 m and 1.3±0.07 m, respectively. 657 ants were collected in the study area by pitfall trapping, comprising 394 Pheidologetion diversus (60.0%), 144 Paratrechina flavipes (21.9%), 53 Pheidole meihuashanensis (8.1%) and other species. The average number of stored seeds in a Pheidologetion diversus nest was 195.0±82.9, among which 73.2% were intact. And the average number of stored seeds in a Pheidole meihuashanensis nest was 28.8±11.4, all of which were intact. The seedlings of R. tomentosa could be found at canopy gaps, on bare land and at the forest edge. There were also many seedlings near ant's nests wherever sunlight was high.

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