RODRIGUEZ CABAL mariano Alberto
The potential seed-dispersing role of the arboreal marsupial Dromiciops gliroides
GUILLERMO C. AMICO; MARIANO A. RODRIGUEZ CABAL; MARCELO A. AIZEN
ACTA OECOLOGICA-INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY
Lugar: Paris; Año: 2009 vol. 35 p. 8 - 13
Marsupial seed dispersal is a rare phenomenon, although it may be ecologically significant in southern South America. The marsupial Dromiciops gliroides is endemic to the northern part of the temperate forest of South America. Here we describe the food habits and examine the potential role of D. gliroides as a seed disperser. We evaluated the diet of this marsupial in its natural habitat and in captivity. Dromiciops gliroides is omnivorous showing high consumption of a diversity of fruits. In captivity, D. gliroides consumed fruits from 80% of 22 native plant species we examined. Experiments conducted with fruits from two common understory shrubs show that seed passage through the digestive tract of D. glir- oides enhances germination. Our results suggest that this species may have an important role as a seed disperser in the temperate forest of South America, which might offset a scarcity of frugivorous bird species.