Long-Distance Dispersal of Seeds by Retention in Digestive Tract of Birds

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Science  19 Apr 1968:
Vol. 160, Issue 3825, pp. 321-322
DOI: 10.1126/science.160.3825.321


Viable seeds of Celtis, Convolvulus, Malva, and Rhus were regurgitated from the digestive tract of kill-deer (Charadrius vociferus) after 160, 144, 152, and 340 hours, respectively; seeds were recovered in the same way, after long-time retention, from least sandpipers (Erolia minutilla). Most other birds do not retain seeds as long. There is evidence that seeds of many species can remain viable in the intestinal tract of some shorebirds long enough to be transported several thousand miles.

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