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Figs, Malabar Giant Squirrels, and Fruit Shortages Within Two Tropical Indian Forests

Renee M. Borges
Biotropica
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Jun., 1993), pp. 183-190
DOI: 10.2307/2389182
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2389182
Page Count: 8
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Figs, Malabar Giant Squirrels, and Fruit Shortages Within Two Tropical Indian Forests
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Abstract

The role of figs as a resource for Malabar Giant Squirrels (Ratufa indica) during fruit shortages was investigated in two tropical forests in India. In general, figs were consumed to the greatest extent during lean fruiting periods, yet there was considerable intersquirrel variation in fig consumption during those periods. The importance of figs for a solitary, territorial, sedentary species such as the Giant Squirrel at these sites is limited only to those individuals who have access to figs within their territories or feeding ranges. The low density and spatial clumping of figs and the small number of fig species at the sites contributed to this phenomenon. The densities of figs were comparable to those found in other tropical areas. During fruit shortages figs may be an important resource only for a section of a frugivore population. Nutrient values of figs relative to other resources are also discussed.

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