Interactions among fleshy fruits and frugivore assemblages are presented from a 1-y study in the littoral forest of Sainte Luce, south-eastern Madagascar. This community-level approach allowed us to determine food selection by all consumer species and to evaluate the role different frugivores play in seed dispersal and predation. For this, interactions between 136 consumed fruit species and 13 frugivorous species were studied. Fruit and seed size were the most important physical factors determining food selection of all consumer species. Nutritionally birds favoured and mammals avoided lipid-rich fruits. For Cheirogaleus spp., that go into torpor, there was a trend to select sugar-rich fruit pulp. However, for numerous fruit traits the consumer species had no clear feeding preferences and they seemed to be quite flexible, eating whatever was available. This might be related to unpredictable fruit availability and low fruit productivity in the littoral forest, which may also partially explain the low number of frugivores present. Nevertheless frugivores have different impacts on seed dispersal. Eulemur fulvus collaris is particularly important for the dispersal of large-seeded species, while frugivorous birds and flying foxes ensure plant regeneration between and outside forest fragments. In terms of conservation, heterogeneous seed transport is particularly important for this severely degraded littoral forest.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.