[en] Post-dispersal fate of seeds dispersed by large primates is well studied but little is known about this process in small frugivores like tamarins. This study in the Amazonian forest of Peru aimed at investigating if characteristics related to the defecation patterns of tamarins (Saguinus mystax and Saguinus fuscicollis) affected short-term post-dispersal seed fate, through secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles and removal by seed predators. Data on dung beetle activity were based on direct observations of 49 defecations while seed fate was studied using semi-controlled experiments (N = 458 for secondary dispersal and N = 398 for predation). Tamarins produce small defecations with a low number of seeds. Thirty-five per cent of defecations were visited by an average of 1.5 dung beetles that usually transport the faeces as pellets. Twenty-four per cent of seeds were buried by beetles at a mean depth of 3.5 cm. With increasing quantities of faecal matter, the probability of secondary seed dispersal increased but not the depth of burial. Seed predation pressure was low (17.6%) after 4 d and higher in faeces of S. mystax than in faeces of S. fuscicollis. Despite their small size, tamarins could be considered as high-quality seed dispersers, with a potential role for forest regeneration.
Fonds pour la formation à la Recherche dans l'Industrie et dans l'Agriculture (Communauté française de Belgique) - FRIA ; Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Fondation Alice Seghers ; Fondation Docquier