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Feeding Preferences of Common Bush-Tanagers for Insect-Infested Fruits: Avoidance or Attraction?

Lisa K. Valburg
Oikos
Vol. 65, No. 1 (Oct., 1992), pp. 29-33
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3544884
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3544884
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Feeding Preferences of Common Bush-Tanagers for Insect-Infested Fruits: Avoidance or Attraction?
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Abstract

The pulp of ripe fruits of many neotropical plant species is infested by pulp-mining insect larvae, whose presence might affect fruit selection by birds through preference for or avoidance of infested fruits. At Monteverde, Costa Rica, common bush-tanagers (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus) consume fruits of plant species infested with insect larvae. I examined whether common bush-tanagers choose infested or uninfested fruits, and whether a preference can be elicited by the presentation of simulated "infested" fruits that were pierced by the investigator. I conducted simultaneous choice trials presenting equal masses of infested and uninfested fruits of Neea ampifolia, Lysianthes synanthera, Solanum cordovense, Cestrum racemosa, Gonzalagunia rosea, Ardisia compressa, and Acnistus arborescens to captive common bush-tanagers. I also presented pierced and intact fruits of C. racemosa, G. rosea, A. compressa, and A. arborescens to the birds and recorded their choices. Common bush-tanagers discriminated between infested and uninfested fruits, but the response to different fruit species varied. Birds preferred uninfested fruits of N. ampifolia and L. synanthera over infested fruits, did not express a preference in S. cordovense, and preferred infested fruits of C. racemosa, G. rosea, A. compressa, and A. arborescens. The birds also chose pierced over intact fruits of all four species presented. The variable response suggests that common bush-tanagers do not respond simply to the presence of insect larvae, but may discriminate in a more complex manner.

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