One species hiding another

An endemic sapotaceous tree Calvaria major found on the island of Mauritius is nearly extinct because its seeds apparently required passage through the digestive tract of the now-extinct dodo Raphus cucullatus…’’

Temple, 1977

If Temple’s fairy tale was true, we should at present have coffins ready for the remaining ca 1000 trees of Calvaria major (Now Sideroxylum grandiflorum). But except for some outdated textbooks it is now widely recognized that there was no obligate mutualism between the dodo (below) and S.grandiflorum which turns out to be more threatened by invasive species. Yet though there was no evidence for this theory, it acquired quite some fame. Why? Maybe because of the aura already associated with the dodo or simply because species interactions are mysterious enough to trigger our imaginations.

Continue reading “One species hiding another”