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Waterbirds can disperse whole plants inside their guts

It is well known that some plants and plant fragments can become attached to the feathers of ducks and other waterbirds and be transported short distances. An increasing diversity of plant seeds have also been shown to survive gut passage and to be able to disperse longer distances inside migratory birds. For the first time, this paper shows that entire flowering plants can be dispersed on the inside. Wolffia is a small form of duckweed and is the smallest of all flowering plants. In Brazil, intact W. columbiana were recovered from the droppings of the Coscoroba and the white-faced whistling duck, then grown in the laboratory. This novel dispersal mechanism may explain why W. columbiana is rapidly expanding as an alien species in Europe. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Silva et al (2018) Whole angiosperms Wolffia columbiana disperse by gut passage through wildfowl in South America. Biol Lett 14: 20180703 https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0703


https://rsj-prod.literatumonline.com/doi/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0703
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Waterbirds can disperse whole plants inside their guts

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