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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).

Mosquito drinking blood
Rosy boa eating a mouse whole
Red Kangaroo eating grass
Robin eating a worm
Hummingbird drinking nectar
Krill filter feeding
Myrmicaria brunnea feeding on sugar crystals




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:

Evolutionary adaptations

The specialization of organisms towards specific food sources is one of the major causes of evolution of form and function, such as:

Conversely, prey species accumulate adaptations to resist being predated apon; see antipredator adaptations.

Storage behaviours

  • Some animals exhibit hoarding and caching behaviours in which they store or hide food for later use.


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