The acouchy is the most important disperser of nuts in the rainforest of French Guyana
Cameras were one of the devices used by biologists from Wageningen to study nut dispersal
Trees are better off if they produce large nuts. This is revealed in research by Patrick Jansen from Wageningen University. Scatterhoarding rodents appear to prefer burying larger nuts for later. The bigger the nut, the further it is buried from the tree and the more frequently it is forgotten.
Biologist Patrick Jansen investigated what happened to nuts as soon as they fell on the ground of the rainforest in French Guyana. He placed thousands of nuts on the ground in the forest. Each nut was marked with a numbered fluorescent thread. Using video cameras he observed which animals removed the nuts. He then traced the nuts using the threads sticking out of the ground and followed them until they were either eaten or grew into a seedling.
He found that the vast majority of nuts were taken by acouchies, large guinea-pig-like rodents, which are active during the day. These animals mostly use the nuts for their food store. Each nut is buried separately at a different location in the forest soil.
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