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Title: Small size does not restrain frugivory and seed dispersal across the evolutionary radiation of Galápagos lava lizards
Authors: Hervías-Parejo, Sandra 
Heleno, Ruben 
Rumeu, Beatriz 
Guzmán, Beatriz 
Vargas, Pablo 
Olesen, Jens M. 
Traveset, Anna 
Vera, Carlos
Benavides, Edgar
Nogales, Manuel 
Keywords: Microlophus; oceanic islands; plant–animal interactions; seed dispersal effectiveness; seed disperser size; seedling emergence
Issue Date: Aug-2019
Volume: 65
Issue: 4
Abstract: Frugivory in lizards is often assumed to be constrained by body size; only large individuals are considered capable of consuming fruits, with the potential of acting as seed dispersers. However, only one previous study has tested the correlation of frugivory with body and head size at an archipelago scale across closely related species. All nine lava lizards (Microlophus spp.) were studied on the eleven largest Galápagos islands from 2010 to 2016 to investigate whether frugivory is related to body and head size. We also tested whether fruit abundance influences fruit consumption and explored the effect of seed ingestion on seedling emergence time and percentage. Our results showed that across islands, lava lizards varied considerably in size (64-102 mm in mean snout-vent length) and level of frugivory (1-23%, i.e., percentage of droppings with seeds). However, level of frugivory was only weakly affected by size as fruit consumption was also common among small lizards. Lava lizards consumed fruits throughout the year and factors other than fruit abundance may be more important drivers of fruit selection (e.g., fruit size, energy content of pulp). From 2,530 droppings, 1,714 seeds of at least 61 plant species were identified, 76% of the species being native to the Galápagos. Most seeds (91%) showed no external structural damage. Seedling emergence time (44 versus 118 days) and percentage (20% versus 12%) were enhanced for lizard-ingested seeds compared to control (uningested) fruits. De-pulping by lizards (i.e., removal of pulp with potential germination inhibitors) might increase the chances that at least some seeds find suitable recruitment conditions. We concluded that lizards are important seed dispersers throughout the year and across the whole archipelago, regardless of body size.
ISSN: 1674-5507
DOI: 10.1093/cz/zoy066
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CFE - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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