Given the abundance of litter-foraging ants and fallen fleshy diaspores on the floor of tropical forests, interactions involving them should be common and may render important consequences for the biology of the diaspores. In this study, we surveyed the interactions between ants and non-myrmecochorous diaspores along a 5-km transect in a lowland Atlantic rain forest of southeast Brazil. A diaspore is defined as any seed, fruit, or infructescence that constitutes the unit of dispersal of the plant. During two years of monthly samplings of naturally fallen diaspores, 886 ant–diaspore interactions involving 36 ant species and 56 different species of diaspores (range = 0.05–29.5 g) were recorded. The number of interactions was significantly and positively correlated with rainfall but not with mean temperature. The number of ant species recorded in the interactions was positively associated with both rainfall and temperature. Lipid-rich diaspores attracted a larger ant assemblage than those with lower contents of lipids. The seasonal pattern for ant–diaspore interactions in the Atlantic rain forest is predicted by well known seasonal patterns in ant activity and diaspore production. Other factors that also may affect the observed pattern are the massive and episodic fruiting of some plant species in which diaspores are especially attractive to ants, and a preference for lipid-rich arillate seeds. Interactions between ants and fallen non-myrmecochorous diaspores may be especially common in lowland rain forests in which the abundance of ants is coupled with the year-round availability of fleshy diaspores.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 32 • No. 4