New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2003) 27(2): 221- 223

Are possums important dispersers of large-seeded fruit?

Forum Article
Peter A. Williams  
  1. Landcare Research, Private Bag 6, Nelson, New Zealand

The claim by Dungan et al. (2002) that “in many areas possums may be the only potential dispersal vector for large-seeded native species” is unsubstantiated. There is little evidence possums excrete viable seed of large-seeded fruit greater than 10 mm diameter, and seeds up to this size are dispersed by a suite of bird species. Nowhere in New Zealand are there likely to be possums in the absence of this suite of bird species.