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Myrmecochorous dispersal distances: a world survey

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Myrmecochorous dispersal distances are reviewed; the seed dispersal curve generated by ants shows a characteristic peak at short distances and a long tail, a shape suited to small densities of safe sites. Mean global distance is of 0.96 m (n= 2524) with a range of 0.01–77 m. Data have been broken down by geography (Northern hemisphere v. Southern hemisphere), taxonomy (ant subfamilies) and ecology (vegetation: sclerophyllous v. mesophyllous). Although a statistical difference exists between dispersal curves from the Northern hemisphere and the Southern hemisphere, this may be an artefact of lack of data from mesophyllous myrmecochores from this hemisphere. The four ant subfamilies do show also numerical differences but could not be subjected to statistical analysis. A difference between the shape of dispersal curve for sclerophyllous myrmecochores and mesophyllous myrmecochores has also been detected. We hypothesize that this difference is related to the myrmecological communities from both types of vegetation: dispersing ants from sclerophyllous vegetation would have smaller nest densities and/or bigger foraging areas than dispersing ants from mesic environments.
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Keywords: Myrmecochory; Northern hemisphere; Southern hemisphere; dispersal curve; dispersal distance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department de Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Girona, 17071 Girona, Spain 2: C. R. E. A. F. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Spain

Publication date: 1998-05-01

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