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Scatter-hoarding of Cape Proteaceae nuts by rodents

Midgley, J., Anderson, B., Bok, A. and Fleming, T.ORCID: 0000-0002-0626-3851 (2002) Scatter-hoarding of Cape Proteaceae nuts by rodents. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 4 . pp. 623-626.

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Most large-seeded shrubs and trees from Mediterranean shrublands are either serotinous (canopy stored seeds) or myrmecochorous (ant-buried). It has been hypothesized that these traits evolved to prevent access to the seeds by rodents. Here we present the first field evidence of a third guild, scatter-hoarding of nuts in the genus Leucadendron (Proteaceae) from the south-west Cape. The rodent concerned is Acomys subspinosus, a small (< 20 g) south-west Cape endemic murid. Seeds are typically buried singly, less than 2 cm deep and at distances of up to 5 m from seed depots. This finding has implications for the understanding of the evolution of myrmecochory and serotiny in shrublands. It extends the evolution of cached-nuts to a new family and is one of the first records of scatter-hoarding, outside of forests, in the southern hemisphere.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Evolutionary Ecology Ltd
Copyright: The authors
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