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Journal Article

Are gastropods, rather than ants, important dispersers of seeds of myrmecochorous forest herbs?

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/663195
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BEX550.pdf
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Citation

Türke, M., Andreas, K., Gossner, M. M., Kowalski, E., Lange, M., Boch, S., et al. (2012). Are gastropods, rather than ants, important dispersers of seeds of myrmecochorous forest herbs? American Naturalist, 179(1), 124-131. doi:10.1086/663195.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-FEB4-5
Abstract
Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is widespread,
and seed adaptations to myrmecochory are common, especially in
the form of fatty appendices (elaiosomes). In a recent study, slugs
were identified as seed dispersers of myrmecochores in a central
European beech forest. Here we used 105 beech forest sites to test
whether myrmecochore presence and abundance is related to ant or
gastropod abundance and whether experimentally exposed seeds are
removed by gastropods. Myrmecochorous plant cover was positively
related to gastropod abundance but was negatively related to ant
abundance. Gastropods were responsible for most seed removal and
elaiosome damage, whereas insects (and rodents) played minor roles.
These gastropod effects on seeds were independent of region or forest
management. We suggest that terrestrial gastropods can generally act
as seed dispersers of myrmecochorous plants and even substitute
myrmecochory, especially where ants are absent or uncommon.