From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feeding is the process by which organisms, typically animals, obtain food. Terminology often uses either the suffix -vore from Latin vorare, meaning 'to devour', or phagy, from Greek φαγειν, meaning 'to eat'.
Polyphagy is the ability of an animal to eat a variety of food, whereas monophagy is the intolerance of every food except of one specific type (see generalist and specialist species).
By mode of ingestion
There are many modes of feeding that animals exhibit, including:
By mode of digestion
- Extra-cellular digestion - excreting digesting enzymes and then reabsorbing the products
- Myzocytosis - one cell pierces another using a feeding tube, and sucks out cytoplasm
- Phagocytosis - engulfing food matter into living cells, where it is digested
By food type
Another classification refers to the specific food animals specialize in eating, such as:
The eating of non-living or decaying matter:
There are also several unusual food sources which can give rise to opportunistic or desperate feeding behaviours, such as:
The specialization of organisms towards specific food sources is one of the major causes of evolution of form and function, such as:
- mouth parts and teeth, such as in whales, vampire bats, leeches, mosquitos, predatory animals such as felines and fishes, etc
- distinct forms of beaks in birds, such as in hawks, woodpeckers, pelicans, hummingbirds, parrots, kingfishers, etc.
- specialized claws and other appendages, for apprehending or killing (including fingers in primates)
- changes in body colour for facilitating camouflage, disguise, setting up traps for preys, etc.
- changes in the digestive system, such as the system of stomachs of herbivores, commensalism and symbiosis
Conversely, prey species accumulate adaptations to resist being predated apon; see antipredator adaptations.
- Some animals exhibit hoarding and caching behaviours in which they store or hide food for later use.