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Differential dispersal of Chamaesyce maculata seeds by two ant species in Japan

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Title: Differential dispersal of Chamaesyce maculata seeds by two ant species in Japan
Authors: Ohnishi, Yoshihiro K. Browse this author
Katayama, Noboru Browse this author
Suzuki, Nobuhiko Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Keywords: Myrmecochory
Pheidole noda
Tetramorium tsushimae
Seed coat
Issue Date: Jul-2013
Publisher: Springer
Journal Title: Plant Ecology
Volume: 214
Issue: 7
Start Page: 907
End Page: 915
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s11258-013-0217-7
Abstract: Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is a widely distributed plant-animal interaction in many ecosystems, and it has been regarded as a generalized (multiple species) interaction in which specialization on specific ant partners is uncommon. In this paper, we demonstrate species-specific seed dispersal of spotted spurge (Chamaesyce maculata) by ants in Japan. C. maculata produces seeds from summer to autumn in Japan. The seeds produced in autumn are carried by two ant species, Tetramorium tsushimae and Pheidole noda. We performed laboratory experiments to investigate the fate of C. maculata seeds in the nests of T. tsushimae and P. noda. P. noda consumed the seeds in the nest and rarely carried seeds out of the nest, while T. tsushimae consumed only the seed coat, and subsequently carried the seeds out of the nest. Removal of the seed coat by T. tsushimae may increase seed survival by reducing their susceptibility to infection by fungi. We also observed ant responses to filter paper soaked with an aqueous extract of the seed coat. P. noda did not react to the filter paper, but T. tsushimae carried the filter paper into their nest. Analysis by high-pressure liquid chromatography revealed that the aqueous extract contained at least four sugars and one unknown substance. Myrmecochory has been regarded as a generalized interaction with specialization for specific ant partners uncommon. However, our study suggests there is a species-specific interaction in seed dispersal by ants in autumn-flowering individuals of C. maculata in Japan.
Rights: The final publication is available at
Type: article (author version)
Appears in Collections:北方生物圏フィールド科学センター (Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

Submitter: 片山 昇

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