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Primary seed dispersal by the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) in the Manombo forest, southeast Madagascar
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Authors: Kara Moses and Stuart Semple.
Language: English
No. of Pages: 1
Dimensions: 210mm x 297mm x 1mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 3762
Shelving Location: Papers & Articles: Natural History: Mammalogy
Estimated Value: £1.00
Price Paid: Log In to view this

Primary seed dispersal by the black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) in the Manombo forest, southeast Madagascar

Unpublished (2010).

A poster-format summary of the results of a 2009 study of black-and-white ruffed lemurs as seed dispersers near Manombo Special Reserve.


Seed dispersal is a pivotal ecological process, but remains poorly understood on Madagascar where lemurs are key dispersers. Preliminary data and a suite of behavioural and ecological attributes associated with effective seed dispersal suggest the black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) may be an effective seed disperser, but no studies have investigated this species' dispersal effectiveness. This three-month study investigated primary seed dispersal by two V. variegata groups in Manombo forest, SE Madagascar, by describing feeding and ranging behaviour and aspects of dispersal effectiveness using direct feeding observation, faecal analysis and germination trials. The lemurs dispersed seeds of 40 species, most of which were large (>10 mm). The two study groups dispersed an estimated average of 984 seeds/ha/yr within their home range; the Manombo population dispersed up to 55,115 seeds/km2/yr. Gut passage was rapid (4h 26mins) and generally had beneficial effects on seeds, increasing germination success and reducing latency period, compared to controls. The vast majority of seeds were dispersed away from their parent plant (mean/max distance 180m/506m). Dispersal distance is relatively low compared to many anthropoid primates; lemurs are predicted to generally disperse seeds over relatively short distances. Overall, these preliminary results suggest V. variegata may be an effective seed disperser in both quality and quantity, and may be critical for large-seeded species. Loss of such large-bodied dispersers may have far-reaching ecological consequences including impacts on tropical forest structure, dynamics and carbon storage capacity.


Many thanks are due to: Jonah Ratsimbazafy for initiating this project; Mialy Razanajatovo for invaluable field assistance; Daniel Austin for endless support; field guides Jeannot, Faly, Getia, Johnny, Tranga, Kosinisy and Ferdinand; Tsaratia and Andry; Fidi Ralainasolo; the people of Sahamahitsy for their hospitality; Salvador; Larry Dew for advice and feedback; Ken and Lorna Gillespie; Mike and Rojo Wilson; The Ministere de l'Environment, des Forêts et du Tourisme for permission to work at Manombo and the Madagascar Institut pour la Conservation des Ecosystèmes Tropicaux for logistical assistance.

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Very good.

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