Revealing secondary seed removers – results from camera trapping.

By Verena Seufert Bibi Linden Frauke Fischer  | 2010

This paper reports the results of the first study on secondary seed removal of seeds dispersed by Sykes’ monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis) using camera traps in Africa. Patterns of primary seed dispersal are often superimposed by secondary conveyance, emphasising the need to study these secondary processes carefully. As the agents and mechanisms of seed dispersal are often concealed, being carried out by cryptic or nocturnal animals in dense vegetation, camera trapping was deemed a viable means to investigate secondary removal of seeds disseminated by C. albogularis in the Western Soutpansberg, South Africa. Camera traps were established at preferred feeding trees of the focal Sykes’ monkey group to identify animal species that remove seeds and fruits spat and dropped to the forest floor and seed removal observations were carried out. This method proved to be effective in identifying seed removers and also allowed to get indications about the quantities of seeds removed. Ten animal species were recorded visiting the trees, of which eight were observed removing seeds and fruits. Overall seed and fruit removal rates were high, indicating that the foraging behaviour of C. albogularis attracts many terrestrial frugivores.

JournalAfrican Journal of Ecology