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Interference by Ground Beetles with the Dispersal by Ants of Seeds of Trillium Species (Liliaceae)

Masashi Ohara and Seigo Higashi
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 75, No. 4 (Dec., 1987), pp. 1091-1098
DOI: 10.2307/2260316
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2260316
Page Count: 8
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Interference by Ground Beetles with the Dispersal by Ants of Seeds of Trillium Species (Liliaceae)
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Abstract

(1) Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) was observed in populations of Trillium kamtschaticum and T. tschonoskii. In both populations, main agents of seed dispersal were Aphaenogaster smythiesi japonica and Myrmica ruginodis, and the dispersal distance was 3.30 m (maximum) and 0.60 m on the average. (2) The seed removal frequency was only about 15% and the other 85% of seeds were left near the mother plants, though all of them lost elaiosomes. (3) This loss was due to nocturnal ground beetles [Carabus arboreus, Aptomoterus japonicus (Carabinae), Pterostichus thunbergi, Synuchus melantho (Harpalinae), Silpha perforata venatoria (Silphidae) and Geotrupes laevistriatus (Scarabaeidae)] which were more active than ants at night and devoured the elaiosomes without transporting the seeds. (4) The seeds with the damaged elaiosomes usually did not attract ants. Thus, the ingestion of the elaisomes by the ground beetles may cause a previously reported clumping of seedlings near fertile plants.

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