Data from: Preference of an insular flying fox for seed figs enhances seed dispersal of a dioecious species
Chen, Shiang-Fan et al. (2017), Data from: Preference of an insular flying fox for seed figs enhances seed dispersal of a dioecious species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t1c0c
Interactions among multiple species form complex networks of interdependences and are considered primary factors in the generation and maintenance of biodiversity. Pteropodid bats are keystone species that provide important ecosystem services of pollination and seed dispersal in the tropics and subtropics. In this study, we investigated the utilization and preference of food resources by the insular frugivorous flying fox Pteropus dasymallus. We found that fig species constituted the major portion of the diet of the flying fox (94.6%). When foraging, the flying fox preferred seed figs from female trees over gall figs from male trees in functionally dioecious fig species. Germination experiments showed a significantly higher percentage of germination for fig seeds in feces than those from pellets and ripe figs (feces: 80.2%, pellets: 23.4%, ripe figs: 32.9%). Considering the active selection of seed figs and avoidance of gall figs by foraging flying foxes, we suggest that the abundance of seed figs accurately represents food availability for dioecy. This preference for seed figs or viable seeds can effectively promote the survival of pollinating wasps and might reinforce the evolution of dioecism in figs. In addition, the effects of gut passage on seed germination, in combination with the capacity of flying foxes to travel long distances, may substantially contribute to the efficiency of flying foxes as seed dispersers.