Todeschini, F., Toledo, J., Rosalino, L.M. & Hilário, R. (2020) Niche differentiation mechanisms among diurnal canopy frugivores and zoochoric trees in the northeastern extreme of the Amazon.Acta Amazonica, 50(3), 263-272. DOI:1809-4392202000732 (IF2020 1,126; Q3 zoology)
Frugivores and zoocoric trees represent an important proportion of tropical rainforest biodiversity. As niche differences favor species coexistence, we aimed to evaluate morphological and temporal niche segregation mechanisms among zoochoric trees and canopy frugivores in a tropical rainforest in the northeastern extreme of the Brazilian Amazon. We tested the effects of fruit morphology, tree size, frugivore body size and time of day on fruit consumption. We recorded the frugivore species that fed on 72 trees (44 species, 22 genera) and whether these frugivores swallowed the seeds. We monitored trees only once from 07:00 to 17:00 h between January and September 2017. We observed fruit consumption in 20 of the 72 trees. Seventy-three frugivore individuals from 22 species visited the trees. Heavier fruits were consumed by larger frugivores, while seed size was inversely correlated with frugivore size. Narrower fruits and fruits with smaller seeds had greater probability of having their seeds ingested, and larger frugivores were more prone to ingest seeds. Trees bearing fruits with smaller seeds were visited by a greater number of frugivores. Taxonomic groups differed in the time of arrival at fruiting trees. None of the evaluated variables (fruit weight and size, and seed size) affected the richness of frugivores that visited the trees. We concluded that, in the studied forest, fruit morphology (weight, size and seed size) is a niche segregation mechanism among zoochoric trees, while body size and time of day are niche segregation mechanisms among frugivores.