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Interaction between primates, seeds and dung beetles in tropical rain forests a case of diplochory Interaccion entre primates, semillas y escarabajos coprofagos en bosques humedos tropicales un caso de diplocoria



Interaction between primates, seeds and dung beetles in tropical rain forests a case of diplochory Interaccion entre primates, semillas y escarabajos coprofagos en bosques humedos tropicales un caso de diplocoria



Universidad y Ciencias, 73-84 Numero Especial II



Primates are important primary seed dispersers in tropical rainforests worldwide, and they favour the regeneration of many of the plant species they disperse. Defecation of seeds is the most common mechanism of primary dispersal in primates. However, seeds rarely remain in the original deposition site, as they are moved by predators and/or secondary seed dispersers and this affects the final fate of the seeds. Dung beetles are attracted to dung, they bury it and accidentally move and bury the seeds that are imbedded in the faeces (secondary dispersal). The probability of seedling establishment may be significantly greater for seeds buried by dung beetles than for unburied seeds. Thus, whereas the primary seed dispersal by primates conveys to a plant species the advantage of escape from mortality in the vicinity of the parent plant, the secondary dispersal by beetles conveys the additional advantage of a dispersal directed to microsites with a greater probability of survival and establishment of seedlings. This diplochory system in which primary dispersal occurs through defecation of primates (or other mammals) and secondary dispersal is carried out by dung beetles, has been poorly studied. However, it is probable that this diplochory is very common in most tropical rainforests and thus deserves more attention, particularly given the increasing disturbance of these ecosystems and the resulting changes in biotic interactions.

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