iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Dispersal and hoarding of sympatric forest seeds by rodents in a temperate forest from northern China

Yi-Feng Zhang (1), Chong Wang (1), Shu-Liao Tian (1-2), Ji-Qi Lu (1)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 70-74 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1032-007
Published: Nov 18, 2013 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

Different species of forest trees exhibited great diversity in seed features, and rodents might take different tactics to handle and disperse them. In September 2011, to understand the discriminatory handling by rodents on sympatric seeds, seeds of four plant species, Quercus variabilis, Prunus armeniaca, P. davidiana, and P. persica, were released and tracked in a temperate forest in Yugong area of Jiyuan, Henan, north China. Results showed that: (1) seed removal rates of acorn (Q. variabilis), wild apricot (P. armeniaca) and wild peach (P. davidiana) differed significantly, while almost all (99%) peach seeds (P. persica) remained in situ; (2) acorns (55%) were eaten more than wild apricot (4%) and wild peach (0%), whereas seeds of wild apricot (62%) were scattered-hoarded more than wild peach (13%) and acorns (36%); hull thickness exerted a nonlinear influence on eating and scatter-hoarding; (3) rodents transported wild peach seeds farther (3.81 m ± 2.44 SE) than wild apricot seeds (3.41 m ± 2.05) and acorns (2.49 m ± 2.37); (4) rodents buried multiple wild apricot seeds in some caches, but seeds of wild peach and acorn were stored singly. Results indicated that, for sympatric seeds, rodents would adopt discriminatory processing and storing strategies in eating, burying, dispersal and cache size. Seeds with medium hull thickness were more likely to be dispersed and survived, and consequently have higher probability of future germination and seedling establishment.


Seed Traits, Rodent, Discriminatory Dispersal, Cache Size, Dispersal Distance, Seed Fate

Authors’ address

Yi-Feng Zhang
Chong Wang
Shu-Liao Tian
Ji-Qi Lu
Institute of Biodiversity and Ecology, Zhengzhou University, 450001 Zhengzhou (China)
Shu-Liao Tian
Zhengzhou Zoo, 450008 Zhengzhou (China)

Corresponding author

Ji-Qi Lu


Zhang Y-F, Wang C, Tian S-L, Lu J-Q (2014). Dispersal and hoarding of sympatric forest seeds by rodents in a temperate forest from northern China. iForest 7: 70-74. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1032-007

Academic Editor

Massimo Faccoli

Paper history

Received: May 01, 2013
Accepted: Sep 07, 2013

First online: Nov 18, 2013
Publication Date: Apr 02, 2014
Publication Time: 2.40 months

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