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Revista chilena de historia natural

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TRAVESET, ANN. Consequences of the disruption of plant-animal mutualisms for the distribution of plant species in the Balearic Islands. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2002, vol.75, n.1, pp.117-126. ISSN 0716-078X.

The alteration of a habitat such as that caused by the introduction of exotic animal species that displace the native ones, reducing their populations or leading them to extinction, can result in the disruption of species interactions which may have evolved during millions of years. The insular ecosystems are especially vulnerable to such disturbances, as they are usually less complex and have a lower number of species than the continental ones. In the present work I document the consequences of the disruption of plant-disperser interactions, caused by the introduction of carnivorous mammals in the Balearic Islands, for the populations of two shrub species: Cneorum tricoccon L., with a distribution restricted to the western Mediterranean, and Daphne rodriguezii Texidor, endemic from Menorca island. Whereas carnivores have "replaced" the native dispersers (lizards) of the former, notably modifying its distribution -especially in Mallorca-, the plant-lizard mutualism disruption seems to have been dramatic for the second species, drastically reducing its populations except in an islet where lizards still persist

Keywords : seed dispersal; Cneorum tricoccon; Daphne rodriguezii; saurocory; insular extinctions.

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