BBC Learning Zone Clips

CLIP 13927

Animal seed dispersal of a cactus

Animal seed dispersal of a cactus
Key Info
  • Animal seed dispersal of a cactus
  • Duration: 02:31
  • David Attenborough describes how the saguaro cactus uses a variety of different animal vectors to disperse its seeds in a hostile arid environment. Mature saguaro cacti are perfectly adapted to survive in the intense heat of the Sonoran Desert, but their seeds are delicate and must find shade to avoid being scorched to death before they germinate. So the cactus encases its seeds in a succulent fruit which attracts the local wildlife. Birds and tortoises eat the seeds before depositing them many miles away in their droppings and any fallen fruit is carried off underground by foraging ants. The cacti produce approximately 40 million seeds during its life, but only one will outlive its parents. First broadcast in the series 'Life' in 2009.
  • Subject:



    Bio: Plants - Growth and Reproduction

  • Keywords: seed dispersal, animal vectors, germinate, Saquaro cactus, David Attenborough, Life, plants, xerophyte
Ideas for use in class
  • Could be used to show how a variety of animal vectors have been exploited by a plant. Students could grow their own cacti in class.
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.