Postdispersal removal and germination of seed dispersed by Cercopithecus nictitans in a West African Montane Forest

Folia Primatol (Basel). 2010;81(1):41-50. doi: 10.1159/000283309. Epub 2010 May 1.


Factors that determine the effectiveness of primates as seed dispersers include (i) the microsite into which they deposit seed, (ii) secondary removal of seed by other taxa and (iii) the effect of gut passage and/or spitting on subsequent seed germination. This contribution evaluated these factors in the little studied putty-nosed monkey, Cercopithecus nictitans, in a Nigerian montane forest. Field experiments showed that C. nictitans has greatly increased in its importance as a disperser of medium-sized seed (>5 mm) because other large primates have been hunted to near extinction. C. nictitans disperses seed across habitats by spitting and defaecation. Rates of secondary seed removal were high for all seed species irrespective of the presence or absence of C. nictitans faecal matter, size or microsite variables. Gut passage enhanced germination relative to hand-cleaned seed, while spitting had either no effect or decreased the germination rate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cercopithecus / physiology*
  • Demography
  • Ecosystem
  • Feces
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Germination / physiology*
  • Nigeria
  • Seeds / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Trees*