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Keywords:

  • cheek pouch;
  • dispersal distance;
  • index of convexity;
  • topography;
  • tree distribution pattern

Summary

  • 1
    We investigated patterns of seed dispersal (i.e. dispersal distances and topography of seed-deposition sites) via the cheek pouches of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata yakui) during three seasons in a lowland forest on Yakushima Island, Japan.
  • 2
    The mean seed-dispersal distances were 16·7, 26·1, 41·8, and 32·4 m from the trunks of mother trees of Myrica rubra, Persea thunbergii, Neolitsea sericea, and Litsea acuminata, respectively.
  • 3
    We assessed the possible effect of macaque foraging patterns and the spatial distribution of fruiting trees on topography-specific seed dispersal. The topography of the locations of macaques differed across seasons, likely because the spatial distribution of fruiting trees determined the seasonal foraging patterns of macaques.
  • 4
    In early summer, macaques foraged on a ridge and fed on fruits of M. rubra and P. thunbergii, which were primarily distributed and dispersed within this area. In contrast, during the winter, macaques foraged within a valley and fed on fruits of L. acuminata, which were chiefly distributed and dispersed within the valley.
  • 5
    Seeds of M. rubra, P. thunbergii, and L. acuminata were directly dispersed to the specific topographic areas in which adult trees were distributed and in which juveniles have a predictably high probability of survival relative to random sites.