Seed predation and fruit damage of Solanum lycocarpum (Solanaceae) by rodents in the cerrado of central Brazil

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Briani, Denis C.
Guimaraes, Paulo R.
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Elsevier B.V.
Although neotropical savannas and grasslands, collectively referred to as cerrado, are rich in seed-eating species of rodents, little is known about seed predation and its determinants in this habitat. In this study, we investigated seed predation and damage to fruits of the widespread shrub Solarium lycocarpurn. In addition, the influence of two possible determinants (distance from the parental plant and total crop size) on the feeding behaviour of Oryzorrys scotti (Rodentia, Sigmodontinae) was also examined. O. scotti were captured more frequently close to the shrubs or on shrub crops, indicating that these rodents were attracted to the shrubs and that seed predation was probably distance-dependent. Moreover, the proportion of damaged fruit on the plant decreased as the total crop size increased; consequently, more productive plants were attacked proportionally less by rodents. This pattern of fruit damage may reflect predator satiation caused by the consumption of a large amount of pulp. Alternatively, secondary metabolites in S. lycocarpum fruits may reduce the pulp consumption per feeding event, thereby limiting the number of fruits damaged. (c) 2006 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
cerrado, density-dependence, fruit damage, solanaceae
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Acta Oecologica-international Journal of Ecology. Paris: Gauthier-villars/editions Elsevier, v. 31, n. 1, p. 8-12, 2007.