Frugivores are animals that feed on fruit as part of their diet. They are considered frugivorous and consist of herbivorous and omnivorous animals. Several species of birds are frugivorous and, along with mammals, constitute the largest composition of fruit-eating animals. Frugivores depend largely on the nutritional composition of the fruits and therefore consume them in large quantities. The relationship between fruit plants and frugivores is mutualism and the fruits provide the nutrients that frugivores help in dispersing seeds.
Birds are the most sought-after frugivores due to their role in seed dispersal. Cotinga, the hornbill, the arachary and many other species of birds are known to survive on fruits and insects. The temperate zone has been established as the most favorable environment for frugivores, but some species are known to reside in the tropics. Fruit-eating and seed-dispersing mammals are considered to be frugivorous. The maned wolf ( Chrysocyon brachyurus) resembles a fox, although it is neither a fox nor a wolf, it is an omnivorous animal that feeds on more vegetables than meat. The ability to digest the seeds is lacking and is known to contribute significantly to the dispersion of the wolf apple. Sixty-five percent of the diet of orangutans consists of fruit, a preference for young leaves, flowers, insects and honey. Other frugivorous mammals are bats and primates.
Are humans frugivorous?
Several species of animals feed on fruit but are not considered frugivorous because the fruits do not constitute a significant part of their diet. There has always been a controversy over how much fruit a species should consume to be considered a frugivorous. The question is to determine if humans are frugivorous. Human beings are the most complex organisms that walk on the planet earth; they feed on different kinds of things besides fruit. Throughout history, humans have been known to feed on fruit and are considered natural frugivores, however, in the recent past, the number of people moving away from meat is increasing. Health concerns are also pushing more people to consume fruit and the nature of human beings as frugivores is clearer than before.
The dispersion of the seeds allows the species of plants to disperse. The loss of frugivores, particularly in the tropics, would have disastrous consequences for the dynamics of the plant population. The loss of monkeys from the ecosystem would have a great impact since they are the individual species linked to the long-distance dispersal of plants in the wild. Climate change and habitat loss are forcing animals and birds to migrate to a new territory, a move that prevents seed dispersal and the introduction of new and invasive plant species that would pose a danger to native plant species .