Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 15
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Feng, Qi Li, Feng-Rui Liu, Ji-Liang Sun, Te-Sheng and Chen, Li-Juan 2015. Ground-dwelling arthropod community response to native grassland conversion in a temperate desert of northwestern China. Journal of Insect Conservation, Vol. 19, Issue. 1, p. 105.

    Griffiths, Hannah M. Louzada, Julio Bardgett, Richard D. Beiroz, Wallace França, Filipe Tregidgo, Daniel and Barlow, Jos 2015. Biodiversity and environmental context predict dung beetle-mediated seed dispersal in a tropical forest field experiment. Ecology, Vol. 96, Issue. 6, p. 1607.

    Petre, Charles-Albert Zinque, Marie-Hélène Tagg, Nikki Beudels-Jamar, Roseline-Claire Haurez, Barbara Josso, Jean-François Moretto, Philippe and Doucet, Jean-Louis 2015. Differences in dung beetle activity at western gorilla defecation sites in south-east Cameroon: implications for establishment of Uapaca spp. seedlings. Journal of Tropical Ecology, Vol. 31, Issue. 02, p. 165.

    Young, Orrey P. 2015. Predation on Dung Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): A Literature Review. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, Vol. 141, Issue. 1, p. 111.

    de Andrade, Rafael B. Barlow, Jos Louzada, Julio Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando Z. Silveira, Juliana M. and Cochrane, Mark A. 2014. Tropical forest fires and biodiversity: dung beetle community and biomass responses in a northern Brazilian Amazon forest. Journal of Insect Conservation, Vol. 18, Issue. 6, p. 1097.

    Hosaka, Tetsuro Niino, Masahiro Kon, Masahiro Ochi, Teruo Yamada, Toshihiro Fletcher, Christine and Okuda, Toshinori 2014. Effects of logging road networks on the ecological functions of dung beetles in Peninsular Malaysia. Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 326, p. 18.

    Santos-Heredia, Carolina and Andresen, Ellen 2014. Upward movement of buried seeds: another ecological role of dung beetles promoting seedling establishment. Journal of Tropical Ecology, Vol. 30, Issue. 05, p. 409.

    2014. Seeds.

    Culot, Laurence Bovy, Emilie Zagury Vaz-de-Mello, Fernando Guevara, Roger and Galetti, Mauro 2013. Selective defaunation affects dung beetle communities in continuous Atlantic rainforest. Biological Conservation, Vol. 163, p. 79.

    Kishimoto-Yamada, Keiko Hyodo, Fujio Matsuoka, Masayuki Hashimoto, Yoshiaki Kon, Masahiro Ochi, Teruo Yamane, Seiki Ishii, Reiichiro and Itioka, Takao 2013. Effects of remnant primary forests on ant and dung beetle species diversity in a secondary forest in Sarawak, Malaysia. Journal of Insect Conservation, Vol. 17, Issue. 3, p. 591.

    Beaune, David Bollache, Loïc Bretagnolle, François and Fruth, Barbara 2012. Dung beetles are critical in preventing post-dispersal seed removal by rodents in Congo rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology, Vol. 28, Issue. 05, p. 507.

    Calvino-Cancela, Maria and Rubido-Bará, Margarita 2012. Effects of seed passage through slugs on germination. Plant Ecology, Vol. 213, Issue. 4, p. 663.

    Kang, Ah Rang Kim, Ki-Gyoung Park, Joong Won and Kim, Iksoo 2012. Genetic diversity of the dung beetle,Copris tripartitus(Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), that is endangered in Korea. Entomological Research, Vol. 42, Issue. 5, p. 247.

    KUNZ, Britta K. and KRELL, Frank-Thorsten 2011. Habitat differences in dung beetle assemblages in an African savanna-forest ecotone: implications for secondary seed dispersal. Integrative Zoology, Vol. 6, Issue. 2, p. 81.

    SANTOS-HEREDIA, Carolina ANDRESEN, Ellen and STEVENSON, Pablo 2011. Secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles in an Amazonian forest fragment of Colombia: influence of dung type and edge effect. Integrative Zoology, Vol. 6, Issue. 4, p. 399.


Secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles in a Colombian rain forest: effects of dung type and defecation pattern on seed fate

  • Carolina Santos-Heredia (a1), Ellen Andresen (a2) and Diego A. Zárate (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2010

In rain forests the fate of seeds defecated by mammals is often affected by dung beetles, but these effects can vary with mammal species. In a Colombian forest, differences in Scarabaeinae assemblages attracted to spider monkey (Ateles hybridus) and howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) defecations were assessed. In total, 791 beetles of 35 species were captured. Mean number of individuals was similar for both dung types; mean number of species was higher for Alouatta traps. The effects of dung type (Alouatta vs. Ateles) and defecation pattern (clumped vs. scattered) on the fate of 220 Rollinia edulis (Annonaceae) seeds were determined. Burial by beetles occurred for 61% of the seeds (mean depth 2.6 cm). Seeds in Alouatta dung and in clumped defecations had higher burial rates. Horizontal movement (mean 11 cm) occurred for 80% of the seeds; no significant effects of experimental factors were detected. Survival was higher for buried vs. surface seeds. In a separate experiment, no differences were detected between dung types in the proportion of seeds buried by beetles. Changes in dung texture might have been responsible for the contrasting results. When assessing the effectiveness of an endozoochorous plant–mammal interaction, secondary dispersal by dung beetles should be addressed too.

Corresponding author
1Corresponding author. Email:,
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

E. ANDRESEN 1999. Seed dispersal by monkeys and the fate of dispersed seeds in a Peruvian rainforest. Biotropica 31:145158.

E. ANDRESEN 2002a. Primary seed dispersal by red howler monkeys and the effect of defecation pattern on the fate of dispersed seeds. Biotropica 34:261272.

E. ANDRESEN 2002b. Dung beetles in a Central Amazonian rainforest and their ecological role as secondary seed dispersers. Ecological Entomology 27:257270.

E. ANDRESEN 2008. Short-term temporal variability in the abundance of tropical dung beetles. Insect Conservation and Diversity 1:120124.

E. ANDRESEN & D. J. LEVEY 2004. Effects of dung and seed size on secondary dispersal, seed predation, and seedling establishment of rain forest trees. Oecologia 139:145154.

B. D'HONDT , B. BOSSUYT , M. HOFFMANN & D. BONTE 2007. Dung beetles as secondary seed dispersers in a temperate grassland. Basic and Applied Ecology 9:542549.

F. FEER 1999. Effects of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae) on seeds dispersed by howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus) in the French Guianan rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 15:129142.

N. J. GOTELLI & R. K. COLWELL 2001. Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecology Letters 4:379391.

D. H. JANZEN 1982. Removal of seeds from horse dung by tropical rodents: influence of habitat and amount of dung. Ecology 63:18871900.

T. LARSEN & A. FORSYTH 2005. Trap spacing and transect design for dung beetle biodiversity studies. Biotropica 37:322325.

T. LARSEN , N. M. WILLIAMS & C. KREMEN 2005. Extinction order and altered community structure rapidly disrupt ecosystem functioning. Ecology Letters 8:538547.

E. NICHOLS , S. SPECTOR , J. LOUZADA , T. LARSEN , S. AMEZQUITA , M. E. FAVILA & THE SCARABAEINAE RESEARCH NETWORK. 2008. Ecological functions and ecosystem services provided by Scarabaeinae dung beetles. Biological Conservation 141:14611474.

G. PONCE-SANTIZO , E. ANDRESEN , E. CANO & A. CUARÓN 2006. Dispersión primaria de semillas por primates y dispersión secundaria por escarabajos coprófagos en Tikal, Guatemala. Biotropica 38:390397.

R. RÍOS & L. F. PACHECO 2006. The effect of dung and dispersal on postdispersal seed predation of Attalea phalerata (Arecaceae) by bruchid beetles. Biotropica 38:778781.

S. E. RUSSO , S. PORTNOY & C. K. AUGSPURGER 2006. Incorporating animal behavior into seed dispersal models: implications for seed shadows. Ecology 87:31603174.

V. E. SHEPHERD & C. CHAPMAN 1998. Dung beetles as secondary seed dispersers: impact on seed predation and germination. Journal of Tropical Ecology 14:199215.

E. M. SLADE , D. J. MANN , J. F. VILLANUEVA & O. T. LEWIS 2007. Experimental evidence for the effects of dung beetle functional group richness and composition on ecosystem function in a tropical forest. Journal of Animal Ecology 76:10941104.

S. B. VANDER WALL & W. S. LONGLAND 2004. Diplochory: are two seed dispersers better than one? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:155161.

J. R. VERDÚ , C. NUMA , J. M. LOBO , M. MARTÍNEZ-AZORÍN & E. GALANTE 2009. Interactions between rabbits and dung beetles influence the establishment of Erodium praecox. Journal of Arid Environments 73:713718.

K. VULINEC 2002. Dung beetle communities and seed dispersal in primary forest and disturbed land in Amazonia. Biotropica 34:297309.

D. T. WICKLOW , R. KUMAR & J. E. LLOYD 1984. Germination of Blue Grama seeds buried by dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Environmental Entomology 13:878881.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Tropical Ecology
  • ISSN: 0266-4674
  • EISSN: 1469-7831
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-tropical-ecology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *