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A slug (Lehmannia nyctelia) feeding on a mushroom

A fungivore or mycophage is any animal that primarily or solely feeds upon living members of the fungus kingdom. Fungivory is a type of predation, and is an important part of the soil food web. However, some animals that are quite strictly herbivorous, such as wombats, will consume fungi if they are available.

Fungi are renowned for their poisons to deter animals from feeding on them: even today humans die from eating poisonous fungi. A natural consequence of this is the virtual absence of obligate vertebrate fungivores. One of the few extant vertebrate fungivores is the northern flying squirrel[1], but it is believed that in the past there were numerous vertebrate fungivores and that toxin development greatly lessened their number and forced these species to abdanon fungi or diversify[2]. Although some monkeys still eat fungi today, there are no completely fungivorous primates, though their dentition is very suitable for eating fungi.

Examples of fungivores include:

References

  1. ^ An Experiment for Assessing Vertebrate Response to Varying Levels and Patterns of Green-tree Retention
  2. ^ Bain, Roderick S.; Wilkinson, David M. ; and Sherratt, Thomas N.; "Explaining Dioscorides' “Double Difference”: Why Are Some Mushrooms Poisonous, and Do They Signal Their Unprofitability?"; in The American Naturalist; vol. 166, pp. 767–775; 2005.
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