Quinolizidine alkaloids in Ormosia arborea seeds inhibit predation but not hoarding by agoutis (Dasyprocta leporina)
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Quinolizidine alkaloids (QAs) are secondary compounds found in seeds of many species of plants, possibly protecting them against pathogens and seed predators. QAs were isolated from Ormosia arborea seeds and bioassayed against red-rumped agoutis (Dasyprocta leporina, Rodentia: Caviomorpha) to verify if they inhibit seed predation and food hoarding (seed dispersal). Three treatments were used: (1) seeds of O. arborea, (2) palatable seeds of Mimusops coriacea (Sapotaceae) treated with MeOH, and (3) seeds of M. coriacea treated with QAs dissolved in MeOH in similar concentration to that present in O. arborea. Palatable seeds were significantly more preyed upon than seeds treated with QAs and Ormosia seeds, but QAs did not influence hoarding behavior. QAs in O. arborea may have a strong effect in avoiding seed predation by rodents, without reducing dispersal.