gut passage

Contribution by possums to seed rain and subsequent seed germination in successional vegetation, Canterbury, New Zealand

The contribution of seeds and fruit to the diet of the introduced brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) was examined in seral vegetation in lowland Canterbury, New Zealand. Fruit and seeds comprised c. 70% of total possum diet, and possums contributed 17% of the dispersed seed rain for the period of our study. The effect of gut passage on germination was measured for five seed species by germinating seeds recovered from faeces of captive and wild possums. At least one-quarter of seeds of four of the species germinated.

Seed dispersal of matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia) by feral pigs (Sus scrofa)

Introduced feral pigs (Sus scrofa) include native fruit and seed in their diet, and thus may act as seed dispersers if seeds are passed intact. The aim of this study was to determine whether pigs consume, and subsequently disperse, intact seeds of the New Zealand native tree matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia). Two captive pigs were fed 100 ripe fruit of matai and their faeces were checked for seeds for 4 days. Fourteen intact seeds (14%) were recovered and 57% of these germinated under glasshouse conditions, comparable with germination from hand-cleaned seeds.