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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A robber fly eating a hoverfly.
Robber fly, Pegesimallus sp., feeding on a beetle

An insectivore is a type of carnivore with a diet that consists chiefly of insects and similar small creatures.

Although individually small, insects exist in enormous numbers and make up a very large part of the animal biomass in almost all non-marine environments. In Queensland pastures, for example, it is normal to have a greater total weight of Scarabaeidae larvae under the surface than of the beef cattle grazing above it.

A great many creatures depend on insects as their primary diet, and many that do not (and are thus not technically insectivores) nevertheless use insects as a protein supplement, particularly when they are breeding.

Examples of insectivores include nightingales, aardwolfs, echidnas, swallows, anteaters, carp, frogs, lizards, bats, and spiders. Insects also can be insectivores; examples are dragonflies, hornets, ladybugs, and praying mantises. Insectivory also features to various degrees amongst primates, such as marmosets and tamarins, [1] and indeed there is some suggestion that the earliest primates were nocturnal, arboreal insectivores. [2]

Insectivorous plants also exist, including the Venus flytrap, several types of pitcher plants, butterworts, sundews, bladderworts, the waterwheel plant, brocchinia bromeliads, and others. These generally grow in soils poor in nitrogen, which they obtain by trapping insects. Technically these plants are not strictly insectivorous, as they consume any animal small enough to be trapped by them; indeed, the larger varieties of pitcher plant have been known to consume small rodents and lizards.

See also


  1. ^ Jones, S., Martin, R., & Pilbeam, D., ed (1994). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-32370-3.   Also ISBN 0-521-46786-1
  2. ^ Weiss, M.L., & Mann, A.E. (1985). Human Biology and Behaviour: An Anthropological Perspective.. Boston: Little Brown & Co.. ISBN 0-673-39013-6.  

Simple English

File:Elgaria multicarinata eating mantis
A Southern Aligator Lizard eating a praying manitis

An insectivore is an animal or insect that eats mostly insects for food. An Anteater is an animal that eats ants. There are also some plants that eat insects. One plant that is an insectivore is called a Venus fly-trap.

To eat insects for food is not very easy because it takes many insects to make enough food for an insect-eating animal. Anteaters eat hundreds of ants every day.

Some omnivores like humans and bears also eat insects for food.

Other pages

  • Herbivore - an animal that eats mostly plants
  • Carnivore - an animal that mostly eats meat from other animals.
  • Detritivore - an animal that eats garbage, dead animals or other food left from another animal.
  • Omnivore - an animal that eats animal meat, plants, fruit, and insects.

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