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Seed dispersal by Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) in western Tokyo, central Japan: a preliminary report

Yamato Tsuji

I studied the characteristics of seeds within faeces, an important aspect of endozoochorous seed dispersal, in Japanese macaques Macaca fuscata inhabiting western Tokyo, central Japan. We collected faecal samples from 2007 to 2008 (N= 52) and examined the rate of seed occurrence, species/life-form composition, and number of seeds. Seeds were found within faecal samples during every season, but their characteristics changed seasonally: the rate of seed occurrence and the number of plant species within faecal samples were greater in fall, These results suggest that Japanese macaques in western Tokyo act as seed dispersers mainly in fall and that they disperse intact seeds into wider areas within the forest through defecation. During the study period, we observed seeds from a total of 20 plant species, including high tree, vine, shrub, and herbaceous plants, in our samples. We also conducted regional comparisons of the characteristics of defecated seeds in order to address whether regional variations in the diet of the macaques affect their efficacy as seed dispersers, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Mammal Study 36: 165-168

OCT/7/2011

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