Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Vertebrate frugivory on jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. (Moraceae) in its native and exotic ranges.

Abstract

Fleshy fruits are an important food resource in tropical forests and attract a wide variety of animals, even in places where they are exotic. Positive interactions with the resident fauna, in turn, can favor an exotic species to become invasive by enhancing reproductive success. The jackfruit tree Artocarpus heterophyllus, native from India and Bangladesh, has been cultivated in several parts of the world, becoming invasive in some of them. Aiming to understand the importance of jackfruit as a food resource for vertebrates, we review the literature describing jackfruit consumption both in areas where it is native and in areas where it is exotic. Jackfruit occurred in 72 countries; information on A. heterophyllus frugivory was found in 56 published works and it was consumed by 63 vertebrate species from 31 families-mostly mammals-including 19 species classified under some degree of threat by the IUCN. Pulp was the most consumed part of the fruits by eight species in native areas and by 32 in areas where the jackfruit is exotic. In non-native areas, three studies reported or suggested increased population densities of some frugivores that consume jackfruit in disturbed areas, while another study described the disruption of native ecological interactions due to a higher attractiveness of the exotic fruit. Due to its high nutritional content, jackfruit removal in areas where it is invasive should be gradual or associated with the replacement by native species with fleshy fruits to avoid frugivore population collapses.