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Eggs survive through avian guts—A possible mechanism for transoceanic dispersal of flightless weevils

Citation

Tseng, Hui-Yun et al. (2022), Eggs survive through avian guts—A possible mechanism for transoceanic dispersal of flightless weevils, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6q573n5zj

Abstract

How flightless animals disperse to remote oceanic islands is a key unresolved question in biogeography. The flightless Pachyrhynchus weevils represent repetitive colonization history in West Pacific islands, which attracted our interests about how some weevils have successfully dispersed in the reverse direction against the sea current. Here, we propose endozoochory as a possible mechanism that the eggs of the weevils might be carried by embedded in the fruits as the food of frugivorous birds. In this study, Pachyrhynchus eggs were embedded in small pieces of persimmon fruits (Diospyros kaki) and fed to captive frugivorous birds. After digestion, 83%–100% eggs were retrieved from the feces of a bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus) and two thrushes (Turdus chrysolaus). The retrieved eggs had hatching rates higher than 84%, which were not different from the control. In contrast, no egg was retrieved from the feces of the frugivorous pigeon (Treron sieboldii), which took a longer retention time in the guts. Our study identified that the eggs of Pachyrhynchus weevils are possible to be transported by internal digesting in some bird species.

Funding

Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, Award: MOST 108‐2311‐B‐003‐001‐MY3,MOST 108‐2313‐B‐002‐060‐MY3,MOST 108‐2621‐B‐003‐003‐MY3