We use individual-based information on the behavior of wild female Japanese macaques in two consecutive years with different food availability (nut-rich vs. nut-poor) to test effects of dominance rank and nut fruiting on seed dispersal parameters. We predicted that social rank would affect dispersal (1) quantity, (2) quality, (3) species richness, and (4) percentage of berries in the diet in the nut-poor year, while these differences would disappear in the nut-rich year. We found seeds of nine fleshy-fruited plant species in the feces of the monkeys. The frequency of seed occurrence for two plant species (Viburnum dilatatum and Rosa multiflora) showed an interaction between dominance ranks and years; in the nut-poor year V. dilatatum seeds were more abundant among dominant females and R. multiflora among subordinates, while such inter-rank differences disappeared in the nut-rich year. Similarly, the intact ratio of V. dilatatum seeds was lower for dominants in the nut-poor year, while inter-rank variations disappeared in the nut-rich year. Finally, percentage of berries in diet and seed richness showed no inter-annual nor inter-rank variations. Our study highlights that differences in individuals' social rank lead to within-group variation in seed dispersal services and that these differences are dependent on nut availability.
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