Ichthyochory is an important process responsible for the high diversity of plant species in tropical flooded forests. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the role of a catfish species, Lithodoras dorsalis, as seed disperser in the flooded forests at the Amazon River mouth, Brazil. Analyzing the stomach contents of 371 individuals of Lithodoras dorsalis, the Germination Potential (GP%) and Germination Speed Index (GSI) of seeds that were removed intact were investigated. This allowed us to evaluate the germination performance of two important species of plants in Amazonia, Euterpe oleracea (Açaí) and Montrichardia linifera (Aninga), after passage through the digestive tract of this catfish species. Given that digestion by L. dorsalis reduced the germination viability of M. linifera and that seeds were often destroyed during consumption, we suggest that L. dorsalis may have a limited role as seed disperser of M. linifera and instead mostly act as seed predator. However, for the species E. oleracea, L. dorsalis was a potential disperser, since the performance of germination of these seeds was improved after digestion. In addition, the number of seeds consumed was directly proportional to the catfish’s body size, reinforcing the role of doradids as potential seed dispersers in tropical forests.
Catfish; Euterpe oleracea; Germination Performance; Montrichardia linifera; Seed dispersal