Volume 14 (2004) Issue 4 Pages 345-355
Seed dispersal by animals plays a crucial role in the tropics. Fruit-bearing plants serve not only as nutritional sources for frugivores, but also as seed sources for forest regeneration and as important foci for the re-establishment of other plant species by attracting seed-dispersing frugivores to their vicinity. However, opportunities for investigating the interactions between a diverse fruit flora and disperser fauna are rapidly disappearing in Southeast Asia. We observed the behaviors of 28 species of frugivorous visitors to 15 fruit-bearing plant species in a moist evergreen forest in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand, to determine their potential quality as seed dispersers. Behavioral observations included the frequency and duration of visits by each forager and their fruit-handling techniques. The highest numbers of frugivores were recorded at strangler figs, confirming their role as an important resource for frugivores at Khao Yai. Mammals and non-passerine birds spent significantly more time at food plants than did passerine birds. Our study provides a preliminary inventory of plant-frugivore interactions that is comparable to other study sites in Southeast Asia. Since fruit-frugivore interactions may differ among the forests, these kinds of studies need to be replicated at faunally intact forests, as well as depleted forests, in Southeast Asia.