||Fruit Use of Plain Flowerpeckers and Their Interactions with Mistletoes
||Department of Life Sciences
食果動物的果實利用和覓食行為可能影響其與供食植物之間的互動強度及隨後的種子分布。本研究旨在檢驗綠啄花鳥 (Dicaeum minullum; Plain Flowerpeckers) 的覓食模式，及影響牠們造訪宿主、椆櫟柿寄生 (Viscum articulatum)、恆春桑寄生 (Taxillus pseudochinensis)、和埔姜桑寄生 (T. theifer) 的因子，以及與這些植物的交互作用，並更進一步評估牠們的種子傳播潛力。我在恆春熱帶植物園進行野外觀察、記錄槲寄生的物候、並為種子發芽實驗採集果實及排泄出的種子。綠啄花造訪宿主主要受到恆春桑寄生果量的影響，也受槲寄生數量、埔姜桑寄生果量、宿主聚集程度、和槲寄生高度的些微影響。這些結果大部分支持關於槲寄生和宿主的能見度的預期。綠啄花主要吃恆春桑寄生的花蜜和果實，且是三種槲寄生有效的種子傳播者，因為牠們經常造訪宿主、取食大量果實，並將種子遺留在樹枝上。牠們移除果皮的行為促進椆櫟柿寄生和埔姜桑寄生發芽，而消化過程則促進恆春桑寄生發芽。雖然椆櫟柿寄生高度仰賴綠啄花傳播種子，但綠啄花較少取食它們的果實，意味著槲寄生和它們的專食食果動物有不對稱的互利作用，這凸顯出徹底評估食果動物的覓食模式的重要性，以更加了解牠們的種子傳播潛力。
Fruit use of frugivores and their foraging behaviors may affect the intensity of interactions with their food plants and even the subsequent seed distribution. This study aimed to examine the foraging patterns of Plain Flowerpeckers (Dicaeum minullum) and factors affecting their visits to and the interactions with mistletoes Viscum articulatum, Taxillus pseudochinensis, and T. theifer and plant hosts, so to further assess the seed dispersal potentials. I conducted field observations, recorded the mistletoe phenology, and collected fruits and defecated seeds for germination experiments in the Hengchun Tropical Botanical Garden. The flowerpecker visits to hosts were primarily affected by the fruit abundance of T. pseudochinensis and slightly affected by the number of mistletoes, the fruit abundance of T. theifer, the degree of host aggregation, and mistletoe heights, which largely supported the prediction regarding the visibility of mistletoes and hosts. Flowerpeckers fed primarily on nectar and fruits of T. pseudochinensis and were effective dispersers of the three mistletoe species due to their frequent visits to hosts, high fruit removals, and more defecated seeds on branches. Their exocarp-removed behavior promoted the germination of V. articulatum and T. theifer, whereas their digestion process facilitated that of T. pseudochinensis. Viscum articulatum highly relied on flowerpeckers to disperse seeds, but flowerpeckers consumed their fruits less, suggesting an asymmetrical mutualistic interaction between the mistletoes and their specialist frugivores. This highlights the importance of thoroughly assessing the foraging patterns of frugivores to better understand dispersal potentials of seed dispersers.
Table of Contents iv
List of Tables vii
List of Figures viii
Statement of problem 1
Searching strategies of frugivores 2
Seed dispersal 3
The biology and ecology of mistletoe plants 5
The biology and ecology of flowerpeckers 7
Materials and methods 11
Study area 11
Tree sampling and mistletoe phenology surveys 12
Behavioral observations 15
Food resource use of D. minullum 17
Fruit sampling and fruit trait measurement 17
Mistletoe seed germination experiments 18
Exp. 1. Effects of exocarp removal 18
Exp. 2. Effects of digestion by D. minullum 19
Host tree measurements 20
Statistical analysis 20
Mistletoe phenology 22
The visit patterns of D. minullum 23
Factors affecting the visit frequency of D. minullum 24
Foraging behaviors of D. minullum 31
Food resource use of D. minullum 32
Seed dispersal potentials of flowerpeckers 34
The seed germination experiments 37
Exp. 1. Effects of exocarp removal by D. minullum 37
Exp. 2. Effects of digestion by D. minullum 38
Factors affecting the visit frequency of D. minullum 39
Food resource use of D. minullum 40
The seed dispersal potentials of flowerpeckers 41
The seed germination experiments 42
Exp. 1. Effects of exocarp removal 42
Exp. 2. Effects of digestion by D. minullum 43
Seed dispersal patterns of D. minullum 43
The interactions between mistletoes, birds, and hosts 44
Literature cited 47
Appendix 1. Animals that visited mistletoe hosts and their food resource use on mistletoes or host plants. 64
Appendix 2. Distribution of mistletoes and host trees 66
Appendix 3. Morphological traits of mistletoe fruits and seeds 67
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