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Strategies of Seed Dispersal and Seed Predation in Amazonian Ungulates

Richard E. Bodmer
Biotropica
Vol. 23, No. 3 (Sep., 1991), pp. 255-261
DOI: 10.2307/2388202
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388202
Page Count: 7
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Strategies of Seed Dispersal and Seed Predation in Amazonian Ungulates
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Abstract

Amazonian ungulates, which include the red brocket deer, grey brocket deer, collared peccary, white-lipped peccary, and lowland tapir, consume large quantities of fruit and maximize nutritional gain by exploiting both pulp and seed. Amazonian ungulates often disperse seeds over short distances by spitting them out during mastication. The lowland tapir is the only ungulate that frequently disperses intact seeds through the digestive tract. Brocket deer destroy most of the seeds they consume by digesting them with rumen microbes, while peccaries crack seeds using their resistant teeth, strong jaw muscles, and thick skull bones. Defensive strategies of seeds include strength, chemical toxins, mast fruiting, fibrous lignin, and size variation. Brocket deer and peccaries have pregastric fermentation that may detoxify some secondary compounds of seeds. Small seeds occasionally pass intact through brocket deer and peccary guts. However, strong palm seeds that avert many mammalian predators are often destroyed by ungulates. The fibrous lignin that protects seeds of Jessenia bataua (Palmae) appears to be effective against ungulates which may explain its abundance in the study area.

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