Frugivorous and granivorous vertebrates often discriminate against seeds and fruits infested by insects (Sallabanks & Courtney 1992). Insects may actively render seed or fruit unpalatable or unusable to vertebrates as a strategy to maximize the amount of food available to themselves (Janzen 1977). Nevertheless, vertebrates sometimes do not differentiate between sound and infested seeds or fruits (Dixon et al. 1997, Weckerly et al. 1989), or even prefer insect-infested seeds and fruits to sound ones (Sallabanks & Courtney 1992, Semel & Andersen 1988, Steele et al. 1996, Valburg 1992). Possible reasons for vertebrates to prefer infested seeds include: (1) seeds with larvae having a higher nutritional value than sound ones, because larvae synthesize fat and/or proteins (Sallabanks & Courtney 1992, Valburg 1992) or other nutrients such as vitamins (Havera & Smith 1979, Semel & Andersen 1988, Steele et al. 1996); (2) seeds with larvae tasting better than sound seeds (Borowicz 1988); and (3) seeds with larvae may be more easily opened and consumed than sound seeds (Borowicz 1988).
- seed dispersal