Volume 67, Issue 5 p. 710-714
Article

THE FATE OF VIOLA SEEDS DISPERSED BY ANTS

David C. Culver

David C. Culver

Department of Biological Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 60201

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Andrew J. Beattie

Andrew J. Beattie

Department of Biological Sciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 60201

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First published: 01 May 1980
Citations: 70

Abstract

Experimental plantings of the seeds of the two species Viola odorata and V. hirta were carried out to determine relative importance of three effects of myrmecochory: 1) clumping of seeds, 2) scarification of the testa and elaiosome removal, and 3) relocation into ant nests. The study site was a beech-larch wood in southern England. Data show that clumping slightly reduces seedling emergence, scarification and elaiosome removal slightly enhances it, while the nest environment significantly increases the rate of seedling emergence. Only the last effect is statistically significant. Seedlings from nests have larger first adult leaves. The possible impact of ant manipulation of seeds on seedling recruitment into myrmecochorous populations is discussed.