Biodiv Sci ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (3): 325-331.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016148

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Seed dispersal by primates

Yuan Chen1, Zheng Wang2, Zuofu Xiang1,*()   

  1. 1 College of Life Science and Technology, Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004
    2 College of Biology and the Environment, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037
  • Received:2016-06-02 Accepted:2017-01-11 Online:2017-03-20 Published:2017-04-07
  • Contact: Xiang Zuofu


Seed dispersal facilitates the recruitment of plants, which has profound influences upon the spatial distribution of forest plants and the maintenance of biodiversity. Recently, the role of primates in the process of seed dispersal has been increasingly studied. Primates play an important and special role in plant recruitment and vegetation regeneration in the form of feeding on fruits and dispersing seeds. The selection of different fruits is not only closely related to the quality of fruits and the feeding competition of sympatric animals, but also varies greatly with morphological, physiological, and behavioral features of different primates. According to the processes of fruit treatment, the patterns of seed dispersal by primates can be classified as endozoochory, epizoochory, and synzoochory. These patterns have different effects on the distance of seed dispersal, seed germination, and the establishment of seedlings. The most effective pattern is endozoochory, characterized by long-distance dispersal and high rates of seed germination and seedling establishment. Seed dispersal by many primate species helps to restore degraded habitats. Studies on the ecological processes of seed dispersal by primates and determined factors would be conducive to determine the role of primates in the forest ecological system, the contribution of primates to vegetation regeneration, and to provide theoretical evidence for forest ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation.

Key words: primates, frugivory, seed dispersal, vegetation regeneration, biodiversity conservation