African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6574

Full Length Research Paper

Potential role of endozoochory by cattle and sheep as an important dispersal mechanism of Zoysia japonica seeds

Zhang Xue-yong1,2, Yang Yun-fei1*, Li Hai-yan1 and Tian Xun3
1Institute of Grassland Science, Northeast Normal University, Key Laboratory of Vegetation Ecology, Ministry of Education, Changchun 130024, Jilin Province, PRC, China. 2Institute of Ecology, Liaoning University, Shenyang 110036, Liaoning Province, PRC, China. 3School of life science, Inner Mongolia University for Nationalities, Tongliao 028042, Inner Mongolia, PRC, China.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 12 June 2013
  •  Published: 01 August 2013

Abstract

The content of seeds in cattle and sheep dung, the germination of seeds removed from cattle and sheep dung and the establishment of seedling using seeds within cattle and sheep dung were studied in order to describe the potential role of endozoochorous seed dispersal by cattle and sheep. Intact seeds occurred at a mean density of 81760.00 ± 3601.67 and 33146.67 ± 3446.76 seeds/kg in cattle and sheep air-dried dung, respectively. The germination rate was significantly higher in seeds collected from the cattle (65.40 ± 2.36%) and sheep (62.00 ± 3.83%) dung than from the fruiting plants (14.40 ± 2.06%). There were no significant differences in germination between seeds defecated by cattle and sheep. A number of seedlings (134.40 ± 32.83 seedlings/pat) were established and tall (62.86 ± 0.98 mm) from cattle dung pat. A few seedlings (0.17 ± 0.04 seedlings/pellet) were established from sheep pellets despite that they have short height (32.35 ± 0.94 mm). These results suggest that cattle and sheep have the relevant potential of endozoochory as Zoysia japonica seed dispersers.

 

Key words: Seed dispersal, cattle, sheep, Zoysia japonica, germination, seedling.