Octavio Salles Photography

Photo Tours in Brazil

Seed dispersers

Posted by campossallesfotografia on 19 de August de 2010

Seed dispersion in natural habitats has always been a topic of interest to me. Some of the relationships between fauna and plants is really interesting. For example take the huge Brazil Nut tree, native to the Amazon. The only animal capable of opening up its incredibly hard shells to reach the seeds inside is the small Agouti. Without them, the seeds would never reach the outside world and thus would never germinate. But the story starts with one specific kind of orchid that thrive only in healthy primary rainforests. This orchid produces a scent that a certain species of bee needs to use in order to attract females for reproduction. This bee is the only one that will visit the Brazil Nut flowers and thus pollinize it. So without the orchid there would be no bees, without the bees the tree would never accomplish reproduction and would never produce fruits and seeds. This is the reason why Brazil Nut trees planted in cities never fruit. They are too far from primary forest where there are bees and orchids.

But back to the small Agouti, once the hard shells fall explosively to the ground (you don’t want to stand below a fruiting Brazil Nut tree!), these rodents move in and start munching on the hard, inch thick shells. They reach the large seeds and eat a few but also bury some for later. Thankfully Agoutis don’t seem to have a good memory, because many seeds are buried and forgotten, germinating to maybe one day become the king of the rainforest. Agoutis do the same thing to disperse the seeds of the Acuri palm (the one it is feeding at the photo below). The Acuri is an extremelly important food item to macaws, specially the Hyacinth Macaw.

Azara's Agouti feeding on an Acuri palm fruit

Another extremelly important seed disperser, this time of smaller seeds, are the toucans and araçaris, such as this striking Chestnut-eared Araçari, a relatively common bird in the Pantanal and adjacent areas. Some of these seeds, such as those from the Açai palm (yes, the energetic drink) can only germinate after the pulp is digested by these birds and later the clean seed is regurgitated somewhere else far from the mother tree. Both photos here were made at the extensive garden and forest trails of the hotel we use in Bonito, during the first part of our Pantanal Tour.

Chestnut-eared Araçari

Advertisements

44 Responses to “Seed dispersers”

  1. Love these shots – especially the toucan. Great post.

  2. Wow! That bird’s beak is incredible!

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  3. beautiful

  4. sunflowerdiva said

    Great post! Funny that agouti seem to have short-term memory loss. And that beak of the aracari is SCARY. Great shots!

  5. Great pics.

  6. Your post is a good reminder how the natural world is so interconnected. No orchids or bees, no brazillian nuts.

  7. hello how are you nice to meet you iam wait visit my blog

  8. […] Seed dispersion in natural habitats has always been a topic of interest to me. Some of the relationships between fauna and plants is really interesting. For example take the huge Brazil Nut tree, native to the Amazon. The only animal capable of opening up its incredibly hard shells to reach the seeds inside is the small Agouti. Without them, the seeds would never reach the outside world and thus would never germinate. But the story starts with on … Read More […]

  9. Love it!

  10. Very interesting…the pics are beautiful. Seed dispersion was never an interest of mine, but you made it interesting, thanks for the blog…Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

    evelyngarone.com

  11. I’m a seed disperser. 🙂

    (Nice pics, btw.)

  12. pd said

    atishay sundar maahiti.i.e Beautiful information.

  13. Soru said

    Beautiful pics!

  14. Very nice photography and informative text to accompany it. Since it’s about nature and animals which I both love I subscribed. Thanks!

    http://wordsfromawoman.wordpress.com/

  15. kgshcd said

    Great photos! Interesting about the seed dispersion.

  16. The Sprollies 'n' Border Collies said

    Those are some beautiful pictures!

  17. Colin L Beadon said

    No elephants, hippos and bison, no lakes and watering holes, rivers stagnant with blockage, few fish. All this goes on and on in nature, everything living, except humans, serve a linked purpose involving the natural world. It is only humans, divorced from natural, who destroy the Divine chain.

  18. Six_33 said

    Beautiful bird shot. Thought the Agouti was a squirrel until I read closer.

  19. Wonderful photos with lots of good information!

  20. […] Surely this inter-connectedness points to truths in the spiritual realm too – like our life in the church, or in the covenant family. How we all need one another to grow and produce fruit; how we need God’s Word and prayer to be healthy and useful in His kingdom. Maybe you can think of other ways in which our spiritual life hangs together with other things. CJT Seed dispersion in natural habitats has always been a topic of interest to me. Some of the relationships between fauna and plants is really interesting. For example take the huge Brazil Nut tree, native to the Amazon. The only animal capable of opening up its incredibly hard shells to reach the seeds inside is the small Agouti. Without them, the seeds would never reach the outside world and thus would never germinate. But the story starts with on … Read More […]

  21. Kingsley said

    What a intresting topic for me. I like both the funny photos and the blog you wrote. So so cute!

  22. Jingle said

    lovely post.
    stunning images!

  23. dwhitsett said

    Thanks for the interesting post. Every year I have to dig up scores of pecan seedlings planted by the squirrels that live in our trees. They are among the most efficient dispersers of seeds along with us humans who unknowingly and unwillingly spread the sticky, velcro-like seeds that cling to pants and socks. http://www.charamongarden.wordpress.com

  24. annket said

    WOW…lovely post.

  25. […] August 20, 2010 in Think Green Nature is so complexly beautiful. Go here to discover a nutty story of fruitful interdependency within community of the Amazon’s native forrest terrain.–O.S.P […]

  26. cappy said

    what lovely photos!
    congrats on being freshly pressed!

  27. Nick said

    This little animal is very cute

  28. eveyoga said

    In our part of the world, the mid-northeast coast of Australia, we have yellow-tailed black cockatoos dispersing pine nut seeds all over the place. Their peak time – January – has them exhibiting behaviour that can only be called feeding frenzy. Mounting decibels accompany their activity until it’s impossible to be out of doors at the same time as them. The pines are “flowering” now. Check out a photo on eveyoga.wordpress.com in the post called “Tug of War.”

  29. SiRu said

    nice one 🙂

    🙂

  30. David said

    Lovely photo of the agouti.

    Do you have maras in Brazil?

  31. Nice blog you have and wonderful photos of these nice animals in the Brazilian Amazon!

  32. nico said

    Fantastic pictures. It’s sad that this places and annimals are endangered and soon if we don’t do something this will be all that’s left…….pics.

  33. Great Post! I think you have a promising career as a photographer.

  34. shane said

    This is a great help for Biology students. It is an additional information that they can use in their studies. Aside from these animals, nature forces can also disperse seeds.

  35. sayitinasong said

    What fab pics!

  36. gsagi said

    Great captures with the camera.

  37. silviu said

    Great Post !!

  38. Ed said

    Great pictures

  39. WOW….great pictures!

    http://www.happinesswhatsittoyou.wordpress.com

  40. Awesome pictures! The one of the Aracari is great! I love how its eye is wide-open.
    Your post just goes to show how everything works out perfectly in nature. 🙂 I mean, how great is it that the Agoutis just go “Whoops, forgot where I buried that nut! Oh well!” 😀

  41. These shots are superb! Love all the colors you captured in that toucan.

    Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: