RESEARCH ARTICLE

Effectiveness of Dispersal of an Ornithocorous Cactus Myrtillocactus geometrizans (Cactaceae) in a Patchy Environment

The Open Biology Journal 10 Sept 2009 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874196700902010101

Abstract

Effectiveness of seed dispersal by different species that feed on the fruits of Myrtillocactus geometrizans was evaluated, considering both quantity and quality of dispersal, in a patch of tropical deciduous forest in Zapotitlán de las Salinas. Effectiveness was estimated to be strongly influenced by the post-foraging movements of the frugivores, leading us to suggest that the quality component of seed dispersal occupies a central role in the assessment of disperser effectiveness and to expect that dispersers that stay in the tropical deciduous forest patch after foraging would have highest effectiveness. Birds were the principal dispersers of M. geometrizans. This was particularly true of Phainopepla nitens, since this species showed a high fidelity within the tropical deciduous forest. These observations emphasize that it is important to determine the post-foraging habits of seed dispersers that may move across vegetation patches over the landscape in order to obtain a complete assessment of their role in Neotropical environments.

Keywords: Arid zone, birds, cactaceae, Phainopepla nitens, seed dispersal, Zapotitlan valley.
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