Nightlife: Marsupial meets mistletoe

By Susan Milius, 15:47 PM April 15, 2008

That's no bird—that's a marsupial. But it's doing a fine job of what was thought to be a bird's task: dispersing mistletoe seeds.

The nocturnal, squirrel-size Dromiciops australis eats seeds of a South American mistletoe and then excretes them onto trees, report Gillermo Amico and Marcelo A. Aizen of the Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Rio Negro in Argentina. When deposited, 98 percent of the mistletoe seeds eaten are intact and ready to sprout, the researchers report in the Dec. 21/28 Na...

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