Repeated Caching of Plant Seeds by Small Rodents
XIAO Zhi Shu ZHANG Zhi Bin LU Ji Qi CHENG Jin Rui (State Key Laboratory of Integrated Management of Pest Insects & Rodents in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, China)
Repeated transportation and caching (i.e., recaching) of seeds by rodents is a very complicated behavior, which may be a strategy for them to manage their own caches and to defend the pilferage, and which may also be a method to pilfer the caches made by other individuals. Moreover, the process of repeated caching is indeed the multistage dispersal of plant seeds, which may play a vital role in plant regeneration. However, little is known about the ecological implications of seed recaching by small rodents and its consequences. This paper reviews the process of seed recaching by rodents, analyses the causes, and discusses the ecological significance from the viewpoint of both rodents and plants.