How Do Insects Help In Seed Dispersal?


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The insect group generally regarded as the most effective at seed dispersal are the ants. The potential benefits to plants and animals resulting from seed dispersal by ants are that it:

Reduces competition between young plants and their parents. By distancing the seed from the parent plant and sibling seedlings it lowers the likelihood of competition for resources.
Reduces the amount of seeds lost to predation. By moving the seeds into ant nests, it is more difficult for other seed-eating animals to get to them.
Provides favourable conditions for seedling growth. Soil in ant nests is less compacted and richer in nutrients than surrounding soils. This is a great advantage to seedlings in arid environments like the Australian interior, which generally have hard, infertile soils.
Provides protection from harsh environmental conditions. By moving the seeds below ground they are protected from fire and high summer temperatures.
Provides protection for eggs of other insects. Some insects have exploited the seed dispersal behaviour of ants. Stick insects, for example lay eggs that mimic seeds. These seed-like eggs are taken back to ant nests where they are guarded or discarded by the ants. When the young stick insect hatches, some species look and behave much like an ant. This method acts to disperse the stick insects as much as it does the seeds they mimic.
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Anonymous commented
Many insects, and their young, feed on seeds. These include beetles (e.g. Weevils), bugs (e.g. Seed bugs), wasps, ants, thrips and some moth species. In the process of feeding, seeds can be dispersed by simply knocking the seed from the plant to the ground or by being carried great distances from the plant.

A few insects use seeds for other purposes. For example, the seeds of the Cadagi Eucalypt contain a resin that is highly sought after by Meliponine Bees - for use in nest building. Bees coll

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