Biodiv Sci ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (1): 93-96.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.04197

• Special Issue • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Patterns of seed predation and dispersal of an endangered rare plant Ormosia hosiei by Edward’s long-tailed rats and Chinese white-bellied rats

Xin Liu1,2, Zhengkun Wang1, Zhishu Xiao2,*()   

  1. 1 School of Life Science of Yunnan Normal University, The Key Laboratory of Biomass Energy and Environment Biological Technology in Yunnan Province, Kunming 650092
    2 State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects and Rodents in Agriculture, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
  • Received:2010-08-12 Accepted:2010-09-26 Online:2011-01-20 Published:2011-04-01
  • Contact: Zhishu Xiao


Ormosia hosiei (Papilionaceae) is a rare and endangered plant native to China. Currently, it is not understood how seed predation and dispersal by animals affect natural regeneration of the species. During the autumn of 2009, we investigated patterns of predation and hoarding by Edward’s long-tailed rats (Leopoldamys edwardsi) and Chinese white-bellied rats (Niviventor confucianus) of Ormosia hosiei seeds using large semi-natural enclosures in Dujiangyan City of Sichuan Province, southwest China. Both rodent species ate Ormosia hosiei seeds, but their hoarding patterns differed. Chinese white-bellied rats larder-hoarded more seeds in the nest and thus may have a negative impact on seed dispersal while Edward’s long-tailed rats scatter-hoarded more seeds and thus may have a positive impact on seed dispersal. In conclusion, our study indicates that compared with other rodent species as seed predators, scatter-hoarding rodents as seed dispersers may play a significant role in seed dispersal and subsequent establishment of this endangered plant.

Key words: Ormosia hosiei, Edward’s long-tailed rat, Chinese white-bellied rat, scatter-hoarding, seed dispersal, seed predation, natural regeneration