Adaptation of Fruit Morphology to Dispersal Agents in a Neotropical Forest

Science  14 Jan 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4581, pp. 187-189
DOI: 10.1126/science.219.4581.187


Two-thirds of 258 fruit species from Peruvian tropical forest belong to one of two classes: large orange, yellow, brown, or green fruits with a husk; or small red, black, white, blue, purple, or mixed-color fruits without a husk. The characteristics of the two fruit classes match the size, visual ability, and jaw morphology of mammals and birds, respectively, and the animals also prefer to eat one class of fruits. Thus, most plants in this forest seem to be adapted to seed dispersal by either of two distinct broad arrays of animal taxa.