Myrmecochorous dispersal distances: A world survey

C. Gómiz, X. Espadaler

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149 Citations (Scopus)


Myrmecochorous dispersal distances are reviewed; the seed dispersal curve generated by ants shows a characteristic peak at short distances and a long tail, a shape suited to small densities of safe sites. Mean global distance is of 0.96 m (n = 2524) with a range of 0.01-77 m. Data have been broken down by geography (Northern hemisphere v. Southern hemisphere), taxonomy (ant subfamilies) and ecology (vegetation: sclerophyllous v. mesophyllous). Although a statistical difference exists between dispersal curves from the Northern hemisphere and the Southern hemisphere, this may be an artefact of lack of data from mesophyllous myrmecochores from this hemisphere. The four ant subfamilies do show also numerical differences but could not be subjected to statistical analysis. A difference between the shape of dispersal curve for sclerophyllous myrmecochores and mesophyllous myrmecochores has also been detected. We hypothesize that this difference is related to the myrmecological communities from both types of vegetation: dispersing ants from sclerophyllous vegetation would have smaller nest densities and/or bigger foraging areas than dispersing ants from mesic environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-580
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 1998


  • Dispersal curve
  • Dispersal distance
  • Myrmecochory
  • Northern hemisphere
  • Southern hemisphere


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