A frugivore is an animal that prefers to eat fruit.
Plant and frugivore relationship[change | change source]
The fruit is part of a plant's sexual reproduction cycle. Plants spend a lot of energy and nutrients in creating fruit. Fruit is produced to attract animals into eating the fruit. The animal digests the pulp but not the seeds, ensuring the plant's genes are spread wherever the animal goes. Seeds can also be germinated by falling near the mother plant. Some seeds must pass through the digestive system (the stomach and intestines) before they can germinate.
Frugivores have also evolved in different ways to eat different fruit; some use teeth, others long beaks or short beaks.
Examples of frugivores[change | change source]
Many birds eat both fruits and insects which makes them omnivores. Mammals may eat both fruits and protein, or eat mostly fruit or nectar, such as many bats. One primate group is essentially herbivore/frugivore, the Owl Monkeys. They live in a non-seasonal area of the Amazon that supports a constant supply of fruiting trees. Elsewhere, an exclusively frugivore diet is impossible and is supplemented by insects or rougher plant matter. Some people say that humans are frugivores; this is unlikely given the evolution of man in the dry tropical region of the Rift Valley. However, the climate in the Rift valley at the time of our evolution was likely a tropical rainforest. That said, almost all primates and even carnivores will travel great distances to feast when a fruit tree has dropped its ripened fruit. Many species will remember the exact fruiting date and location of a fruiting tree which highlights fruits great nutritional benefit. Some people promote a frugivore diet for humans.
Further reading[change | change source]
- Levey, D. J., W. R. Silva, and M. Galetti (editors) 2002. Seed dispersal and frugivory : ecology, evolution, and conservation New York : CABI Pub. 511 p. ISBN 0-85199-525-X
Other websites[change | change source]
View on diet and health at NHE Self-Health Care Systems: Biological Adaptations