Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Rattus rattus, a potential threat to the endangered tree Gomortega keule in the Maulino forest of Chile.

Abstract

Gomortega keule is an endangered tree species, the single extant species of a monotypic family. It is safeguarded only in one protected area. Its recruitment and germination are low, possibly in part because rodents prey on the seeds. However, it remains unknown if any rodent preys upon its large fruit and if so, to what extent. In this work we aimed to evaluate the interaction and possible predation of the invasive species Rattus rattus on G. keule. We recorded with camera traps the visits and behaviour of different animal species with the fruit of G. keule. We obtained a total of 90 records. The only animal species that interacted with the fruit during the 14-day observation period was R. rattus, eating and carrying away the fruit. This could constitute an additional threat to G. keule. Despite the evidence of seeds chewed by rodents, it would be useful to document the fates of seeds to confirm our conclusions and understand this interaction. However, in the meantime we recommend increasing propagation and protection of seedlings, and also taking actions against R. rattus in the only protected area where this endangered tree is present.