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Zoochoric and hydrochoric maritime dispersal of the Opuntia monacantha (Willd.) Haw. (Cactaceae)

Author(s): Maurício Lenzi | Maurício Eduardo Graipel | Josy Zarur de Matos | Angelo Martins Fraga | Afonso Inácio Orth

Journal: Biotemas
ISSN 0103-1643

Volume: 25;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 47;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Cactus | Didelphis | Frugivory | Overwash | Restinga

Evolutionary adaptations in the morphology and physiology of cactus species have been associated to their mechanisms of dispersal and colonization. The dispersal mechanisms and modes of Opuntia monacantha (Willd.) Haw. (Cactaceae) were characterized in two beaches in Florianopolis, SC, Brazil. A marsupial from the genus Didelphis (Mammalia: Didelphidae) was the only frugivorous and, thus, disperser of fruits, presenting specific eating places. The maritime hydrochory was due to the overwash on restinga vegetation, it is characterized by the dispersal of cladodes and fruits at various times of the year. It is here firstly described the sea action as a potential disperser for a cactus species.

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