The effect of lizards on the dispersal and germination of Capparis spinosa (Capparaceae).

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Authors: Yi Yang, Yingying Lin and Lei Shi
Date: Feb. 26, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 2)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 6,836 words
Lexile Measure: 1430L

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Abstract :

Seed dispersal is a key component of the interactions between plants and animals. There is little research on the effects of lizard seed dispersal, which is more common on islands than elsewhere. In this study, the effects of the passage of Capparis spinosa seeds through Teratoscincus roborowskii lizard digestive tracts on the seed coats, water uptake rates and germination rates were investigated. In addition, the spatial patterns of fecal deposition by lizards in various microhabitats were assessed. Our results showed that the mean retention time (MRT) of mealworms was significantly longer than that of C. spinosa seeds in both adult and juvenile lizards. The defecation rate of C. spinosa tended to be lower than that of mealworms, which might be beneficial for seed dispersal. It was determined that the longer MRT of C. spinosa seeds enhanced the permeability of the seed coats, which promoted fast water uptake, broke seed dormancy and increased the seed germination rate. Furthermore, the seeds that passed through the digestive tracts of lizards were deposited in favorable germination microhabitats. By enhancing seed germination and depositing intact and viable seeds in safe potential recruitment sites, the lizard T. roborowskii acts, at least qualitatively, as an effective disperser of C. spinosa.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A653157204