Data from: Are gastropods, rather than ants, important dispersers of seeds of myrmecochorous forest herbs?
Türke, Manfred et al. (2011), Data from: Are gastropods, rather than ants, important dispersers of seeds of myrmecochorous forest herbs?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p3p0621d
Seed dispersal by ants (myrmecochory) is widespread and seed adaptations to myrmecochory are common, especially in the form of fatty appendices (elaiosomes). In a recent study, slugs were identified as seed dispersers of myrmecochores in a Central European beech forest. Here we used 105 beech forest sites to test whether myrmecochore presence and abundance is related to ant or to gastropod abundance and whether experimentally exposed seeds are removed by gastropods. Myrmecochorous plant cover was positively related to gastropod abundance, but negatively to ant abundance. Gastropods were responsible for most seed removal and elaiosome damage, while insects (and rodents) played minor roles. These gastropod effects on seeds were independent of region or forest management. We suggest that terrestrial gastropods can generally act as seed dispersers of myrmecochorous plants or even substitute myrmecochory, especially where ants are absent or uncommon.