Record Details

Lambert, Joanna E.;Garber, Paul A.
Evolutionary and ecological implications of primate seed dispersal
American Journal of Primatology
Journal Article
Parque Nacional del Manu Cocha Cashu ecology animals mammals monkeys primates Mammalia Vertebrata Chordata Animalia frugivory seed dispersal plant-animal interactions large spatial scales seed predation evolution Madre de Dios Bibliography
In this paper, we evaluate patterns of fruit eating and seed dispersal in monkeys and apes and draw an important distinction between 1) the ecological consequences of primates as seed dispersers and 2) the evolutionary implications of primates on the seed and fruit traits of the plant species they exploit. In many forest communities, primates act as both seed predators and seed dispersers and are likely to have an important ecological impact on patterns of forest regeneration and tree species diversity. Evidence from Kibale National Park, Uganda, and Manu National Park, Peru, as well as several other South American sites indicates that monkeys and apes display a wide range of fruit-processing behaviors, including spitting seeds, dropping seeds, masticating seeds, and swallowing seeds. Differences in consumer body size, diet, ranging patterns, and oral and digestive morphology result in different patterns in the distance and distribution of seeds from the parent plant. In the case of South American monkeys, for example, despite their relatively small body size, platyrrhines were found to exploit larger fruits and swallow larger seeds on average than did Old World monkeys and apes of the Kibale forest. We found little evidence to support the existence of a coevolutionary relationship between a single or set of primate dispersers and the particular plant species they disperse. This is due to variability in the manner in which monkeys and apes select fruits and treat seeds, the fact that many species of primates and nonprimates exploit and disperse the same fruit species, and the fact that extremely high levels of postdispersal seed, seedling, and sapling mortality serve to dilute the influence that any primate species may have on the recruitment of the next generation of adult trees. It is apparent that many primate lineages exhibit dental, digestive, and/or sensory adaptations that aid in the exploitation of particular food types and that many lineages of flowering plants have evolved characteristics of fruits and seeds that facilitate seed dispersal. However, in light of currently available data, we argue that these represent evolutionary rather than more strictly defined coevolutionary relationships.
1998 Article English