The role of wild canids in the seed dispersal of Washingtonia robusta (Arecaceae) in Sonoran Desert oases

Lucila Armenta-Méndez, Juan P. Gallo-Reynoso, Benjamin T. Wilder, Alfonso A. Gardea, María M. Ortega-Nieblas, Isai Barba-Acuña


The canids gray fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus and coyote Canis latrans consume the fruits of Mexican fan palm, Washingtonia robusta, endemic to the oases of the Sonoran Desert. We analyzed biotic covariates (consumption, dispersal, and germination of palm seeds and abundance of gray foxes and coyotes) and organic matter in soils
between different exposures in Barajitas Canyon, to better understand palm establishment. Mexican fan palm seeds found in feces had a greater germination rate (94%) than those dispersed directly from mother plants (55%). According to the results for palm establishment, the habitat can provide likely locations for successful colonization that did not significantly differ among sampling sites (α = 0.05, F = 1.104). The canyon is a dynamic habitat in which the reproductive season of these 2 mammals coincides with palm reproductive phenology. Our data suggest that the consumption and dispersal of W. robusta seeds by gray fox and coyote represent a positive interaction that plays a
significant role in the establishment of this oasis species.

Palabras clave

Arroyos; canyons; frugivory; mutualisms; oases; palms; phenology; plant-animal interactions

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Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, Año 3, No. 12, enero-marzo 2014, es una publicación trimestral editada por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Delegación Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, a través del Instituto de Biología, Tercer Circuito Universitario s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Copilco, Del. Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, Tel. (55)56229164,, responsable: Dr. Fernando Álvarez Noguera. Reserva de Derechos al uso Exclusivo No. 04-2013-092709142100-203, ISSN: 2007-8706, ambos otorgados por el Instituto Nacional del Derecho de Autor, Responsable de la última actualización de este número, Instituto de Biología, UNAM, Dr. Fernando Álvarez Noguera, Tercer Circuito Universitario s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Col. Copilco, Del. Coyoacán, C.P. 04510, Ciudad de México, fecha de la última modificación: 25 de agosto de 2016.

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