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Frugivory by Taiwan Barbets (Megalaima nuchalis) and the effects of deinhibition and scarification on seed germination

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We investigated the frugivory of Taiwan Barbets (Megalaima nuchalis Gould, 1863) on passage time and germination of 19 species of commonly consumed fruits, distinguished the deinhibition and scarification effects, and tested if complete bird-gut passage increases seed germination. We measured fruit and seed size and seed retention times (SRTs) and examined the germination of intact fruits and pulp-removed and defecated seeds. Germination latency in intact fruits of most species was prolonged, whereas in more non-figs (7/12), the seed germinability increased after ingestion, and nearly all figs germinated by higher proportions after defecation or depulping. Yet, figs revealed major differences from non-figs. SRTs of both non-figs and figs were negatively dependent on fruit size, which was positively correlated to seed size in non-figs only. The germinability was negatively correlated and the germination onset time was positively correlated with SRTs of the last seeds in non-figs, but neither was correlated with SRTs in figs. Most (14/17) species with germination success were enhanced either by deinhibition and scarification, or the fruits hardly germinated but were aided by pulp removal. Deinhibition revealed greater effects than scarification in increasing the germinability and shortening latency, thus aiding, in particular, non-fig seeds with shorter SRTs or that are often culled during feeding.

Keywords: Megalaima nuchalis; barbets; barbus; deinhibition; dispersion des graines; désinhibition; frugivore; germination; scarification; seed dispersal

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Biodiversity, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan. 2: Department of Life Sciences, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan 701, Taiwan.

Publication date: 2012-05-13

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