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Behavior of kestrels feeding on frugivorous lizards: Implications for secondary seed dispersal

AuthorsPadilla, David P.; Nogales, Manuel
KeywordsSeed dispersal
Macaronesian plant
Oceanic islands
Issue DateJul-2009
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationBehavioral Ecology 20(4): 872-877 (2009)
AbstractSecondary seed dispersal is a multistep system that includes 2 or more dispersal processes that can increase the distance from which seeds arrive. This phenomenon is relatively common in some habitats of subtropical oceanic islands due to the frequent frugivore-predator interactions found in them. In this study, we describe how the Eurasian Kestrel is an effective disperser of plants in the secondary seed dispersal process, through interaction with frugivorous lizards. Experiments using captive wild kestrels, along with field data, showed that predation of kestrels on lizards leads to a secondary seed dispersal with 2 possible outcomes: 1) most seeds (89%) are not consumed by kestrels because they reject the lizards' digestive tracts and so receive only the gut treatment of lizards and 2) a small fraction of seeds (11%) appeared inside the kestrel pellets as a result of indirect ingestion by this raptor, thus undergoing double gut treatment. So, 2 different seed dispersal distances may result from this interaction: 1) when the kestrels capture the lizard and transport it to a perch where the seed-containing guts are discarded and 2) when they indirectly ingest a few seeds from lizards, consequently increasing the dispersal distance. Seeds from the Macaronesian plant species Rubia fruticosa were tested, finding that those passed through kestrels had a lower germinability than those that remained inside the rejected lizards' digestive tracts, which had similar germination rates to those from control plants (uningested seeds). The kestrel can be considered an important and effective long-distance seed disperser due to the high abundance of frugivorous lizards in their diet, their stereotyped consumption behavior, and the effectiveness of their seed dispersal.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arp075
Identifiersdoi: 10.1093/beheco/arp075
issn: 1045-2249
e-issn: 1465-7279
Appears in Collections:(IPNA) Artículos
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