Seed Dispersal by Japanese Macaques

  • Tatsuya Otani
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series (PrimMono, volume 0)


Seed dispersal is a crucial process in recruitment of plant populations, as well as for pollen dispersal. The location of dispersed seeds affects the survival of seedlings and the spatial distribution pattern of plants. Plants employ various strategies for effective seed dispersal, and diaspores have unique structures that utilize biotic and/or abiotic factors such as fleshy arils for endozoochory, thorny hooks for epizoochory, and membrane wings for anemochory. Most studies on seed dispersal by mammals have concerned endozoochory, that is, when an animal eats the edible fleshy parts surrounding seeds and then disseminates intact seeds by defecating or spitting out the seeds, although a few studies have examined epizoochory (e.g., Mouissie et al. 2005). The viability or survival rate of seeds can be altered at each step of seed dispersal and recruitment process, starting from fruit foraging by animals, followed by seed passage through digestive tracts, seed deposition on the forest floor, germination, and finally seedling establishment (Schupp 1993). Numerous studies have reported that diverse primate species act as effective endozoochorous seed dispersers for tree species in tropical and subtropical forests (Balcomb and Chapman 2003; Russo et al. 2006). We have only one indigenous primate species, Macaca fuscata, in Japan, and previous studies have suggested that Japanese macaques are also effective agents of seed dispersal for tree species that compose the cool- and warm-temperate forests in Japan. In this chapter, I present findings from previous studies on seed dispersal by Japanese macaques.


Seed Dispersal Parent Tree Japanese Macaque Seed Disperser Fleshy Fruit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to Dr. Y Tsuji for kindly showing unpublished data on seed species dispersed by Japanese macaques in Kinkazan Island. I also thank three editors for their helpful comments on the draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)TsukubaJapan

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