During our 2009 field season, Tanya Jones (my field assitant in 2009-2010) was drying some Astrocaryum seeds to take as samples on a shelf in our carbet. The problem was, they kept disappearing. Tanya thought I had been taking them*, but I had done no such thing.
So we set up a video trap to catch the culprit:
[flickr video=4274367342 secret=f11d9104dc w=720 h=481]
Mystery solved! So the lesson is, when you need to dry Astrocaryum, make sure they are in a protected location.
*I admit, I did like smashing them and trying to eat the flesh…don’t bother, it is very hard!
Update! Pierre-Michel Forget (the king of tropical forest seed dispersal specialists!) has directed my attention to a cool paper that describes the phenomenon we are seeing here, namely scatterhoarding by a Spiny Rat (Proechimys spp.). Check it out here!