Post date: Jul 28, 2014 4:57:44 PM

About two years ago (2012), I visited Bandipur National Park and spent a couple of days there. At that time almost all the Bamboos (Bambusa arundianceae) were in full bloom and as a result of gregarious and profuse flowering most of the Bamboo clumps were drying after shedding the grams. This phenomenon is common and well documented. The grains had fallen to the found in millions. We were watching the forest floor and we could a see a particular species of ants marching in a straight line from the bamboo clumps to their nest. Almost all the ants were carrying the grains one grain per ant to their nest. The grains were intact inside each grain, these were hard and white seed. Bamboo grains were being transported to the ant nest where they would be stored for a few days. The soil of the ant nest being fertile would naturally be a safe and secure store room for the grains.

After being stored there, for a few days, if it rains and if other conditions such as aeration, temperature are favourable, these grains would germinate and grow into new bamboo seedlings and soon there would be a fresh clump of bamboos. This could be the beginning of a new generation of Bamboos.

This is how new bamboo clumps would be formed. This is one example of how forest plants are dispersed. The phenomenon of seed dispersal is carried out by ants in this case, an example of Zoochory (=Entomochory) i.e., dispersal of fruits and seeds with the help of animals and ants to be the specific.

Author: KB Sadananda