ABS 2022
Northern Olingo as recurrent visitor of the world’s only epiphytic gymnosperm: Zamia pseudoparasitica
Claudio Manuel Monteza-Moreno1, 2, 3, 4, Lilisbeth Rodriguez-Castro3, Pedro Castillo-Caballero3, Edgar Toribio3. 1Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Konstanz, , Germany; 2International Max Planck Research School for Quantitative Behavior, Ecology and Evolution, Radolfzell, , Germany; 3Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, , Panama, , Panama; 4Estación Científica COIBA-AIP, Panama, , Panama

Zamia pseudoparasitica is an endemic epiphytic gymnosperm from the mountains of Western Panama and little is known about the ecology of this unusual cycad. We provide the first report of the Northern olingo (Bassaricyon gabbii) as potential seed disperser of Z. pseudoparasitica. Three arboreal camera traps collected data between late-October 2019 and March 2020 at three sites, along the Talamanca Cordillera in Western Panama. We recorded at least seven mammal species visiting this epiphytic cycad. However, the Northern olingo (Bassaricyon gabbii) was the only species that visited individuals of Z. pseudoparasitica repeatedly, both while cones were closed and after they had opened. We estimated the time-varying intensity of the visits throughout our sampling and used mixed models to compare the length of visits when cones were closed versus when they were open. Both duration and time-varying intensity of visits increased after cones had opened. Camera trap images documented Northern olingo removing and carrying away seeds. Our results suggest that the Northern olingo might be acting as a seed dispersal agent for this rare epiphytic gymnosperm.