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Keywords:

  • fragmentation;
  • plant–animal interaction;
  • Scarabaeidae;
  • seed fate

Abstract

Seeds of many plant species are secondarily dispersed by dung beetles, but the outcome of this interaction is highly context-specific. Little is known about how certain anthropogenic disturbances affect this plant–animal interaction. The aims of this study were to assess the effect of dung type on secondary dispersal by dung beetles in a forest fragment, and to determine whether this interaction is affected by edge effects. Using pitfall traps, we captured dung beetles attracted to dung of 2 frugivorous mammals: woolly monkeys and howler monkeys. We found differences between both dung beetle assemblages, but these differences were not consistent in time. Using seeds surrounded by both dung types, we carried out a field experiment using seeds of 2 plant species. We found that the probability of secondary dispersal by dung beetles was higher for seeds placed in woolly monkey dung. Finally, we carried out a field experiment using plastic beads as seed mimics to assess edge effects. We found that secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles was negatively affected by edges. The disruption of plant–animal interactions along anthropogenic forest edges could have long-term negative effects on forest dynamics by affecting processes of regeneration.