A Comparison of Fruit Removal in Ficus Colubrinae Between Birds and Ectophylla Alba (chiroptera: Phyllostomidae) in a Costa Rican Rain Forest

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Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment

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Ectophylla alba almost exclusively feeds on the fruits of Ficus colubrinae therefore significantly contributing to dispersal of its seeds. The objective of this research was to quantify the fruit removal of F. colubrinae by E. alba and compare it with that of birds in a F. colubrinae tree at the La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. We established seven quadrats randomly at different heights of the tree. We took photographs of each quadrat, quantified the fruits in each photograph, and compared the number of fruits removed during periods of high and low activity. The on-site persistence time of birds (9:05 min) was higher than that of E. alba (0.32 s). Birds removed more fruits (46) than E. alba (41). Birds defecated on site more times (13.08 feces per day) than E. alba (7.5 feces per day). Thus, E. alba is a more important seed disperser of F. colubrinae than are birds, because it persisted a short time at the feeding site, and consumed food beyond the individual trees’ canopies. Most importantly, by defecating during flight or away from the fruiting tree, E. alba disperse seeds some distance from the F. colubrinae tree, thereby contributes more effectively toward seed dispersal.


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