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Mycophagy and Spore Dispersal by a Rat-Kangaroo: Consumption of Ectomycorrhizal Taxa in Relation to their Abundance
C. N. Johnson
Vol. 8, No. 4 (Aug., 1994), pp. 464-468
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2390070
Page Count: 5
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1. Consumption by the Tasmanian bettong Bettongia gaimardi of fruit-bodies of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with Eucalyptus tenuiramus was compared with the abundance of these fungi in soil protected from bettongs by exclosures. 2. Bettongs consumed all taxa (>36 spp.) of hypogeous basidiomycetes and ascomycetes on the site, generally in direct proportion to their abundance. The genus Mesophellia and Castoreum tasmanicum were the most important taxa, in terms of both abundance on the site and contribution to the diet. Fruit-bodies of Elaphomyces spp. were abundant but rarely eaten. 3. The impact of harvesting of fruit-bodies by bettongs was substantial and resulted in greater than 50% reductions of fruit-body density of some taxa. This effect was evident only when fruit-body production was high. 4. Assuming that consumption of fruit-bodies by mammals results in dispersal of spores, these observations suggest that B. gaimardi may play a major role in maintaining species richness and abundance of hypogeous ectomycorrhizal fungi.
Functional Ecology © 1994 British Ecological Society