Animal Diet Glossary

  • Polyphagy: “The habit of feeding on many different kinds of food.”

Most large animals will feed on multiple foods. For example, a cheetah is a carnivore but will eat different meats such as rabbits, antelopes, warthogs and ostrich.

  • Monophagy: “Feeding on only one kinds of food.”

Some animals will only eat one specific kind of food, often known as ‘specialists’. An example of a specialist animal is the koala, which only eats eucalyptus leaves.

The suffixes of most of the following words are either ‘vore’ which is derived from the Latin word ‘vorare’ meaning ‘to devour’ or ‘phagy’, which is derived from the Greek word ‘φαγειν’ meaning ‘to eat’.

Carnivore An animal that eats the meat from other animals. Grey wolf (Canis lupus)

Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

Common buzzard (Buteo buteo)

Araneophagy Feeding on or eating spiders. Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Cellar spider (Pholicidae)

Common toad (Bufo bufo)

Avivore Feeding on or eating birds. Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx)

Goliath birdeater (Theraphosa blondi)

Durophagy The consumption of hard-shelled organisms (coral, invertebrates and bamboo) Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

Bullhead shark (Heterodontus)

Crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci)

Haematophagy Feeding on blood Vampire bat (Desmodontinae)

Mosquito (female only) (Culicidae)

Lamprey (Petromyzontiformes)

Insectivore Feeding on insects Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)

Praying mantis (Mantodea)

Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)

Myrmecophagy Feeding on ants and/or termites Pangolin (Pholidota)

Echidna (Tachyglossidae)

Ant mimic jumping spider (Myrmarachne)

Invertivore Feeding on invertebrates Common frog (Rana temporaria)

European headgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

Armadillo (Dasypodidae)

Ceratophagy Feeding on the hair of animals Common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella)

Dermestid beetle larvae (Dermestidae)

Lepiodophagy Feeding on fish scales Bucktooth tetra (Exodon paradoxus)

Elongate glassy perchlet (Chanda nama)

Target fish (Terapon jarbua)

Molluscivore Feeding on molluscs Oystercatcher (Haematopus)

Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus)

Cone snail (Conidae)

Mucophagy Feeding on mucus Sea lice (Caligidae)

Vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis)

Ophiophagy Feeding on snakes Secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius)

Mongoose (Herpestidae)

Common kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)

Oophagy Feeding on eggs Shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)

Crow (Corvus)

Hedgehog (Erinaceinae)

Piscivore Feeding on fish Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)

Spongivore Feeding on sponges Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate)

Emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)

Sea slugs (Nudibranch)

Teuthophagore Feeding on cephalopods Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

Blue shark (Prionace glauca)

Pyjama shark (Poroderma africanum)

Vermivore Feeding on worms American robin (Turdus migratorius)

Long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus)

Kiwi (Apteryx)

Herbivore Feeding on plants Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

Red deer (Cervus elaphus)

White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum)

Exudativore /

Gumivore

Feeding on gum, tree sap, resin Black-tufted marmoset (Callithrix penicilata)

Forked-marked lemur (Phaner)

Leadbeaters possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri)

Folivore Feeding on leaves Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin)

Two-toed sloth (Choloepus)

Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus)

Florivore Feeding on flowers European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Yellow-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulata)

Fallow deer (Dama dama)

Frugivore Feeding on fruits Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus)

Orangutan (Pongo)

Gray-bellied night monkey (Aotus lemurinus)

Graminovore Feeding on grasses Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

Red kangaroo (Macropus rufus)

Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

Garnivore Feeding on seeds Tree sparrow (Passer montanus)

Western scrub jay (Aphelocoma californica)

Grey squirrel (Sciurus caeolinensis)

Nectarivore Feeding on nectar Australian painted lady (Vanessa kershawi)

Honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus)

Grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)

Polynivore Feeding on pollen Bees (Anthophila)

Ladybird (Coccinellidae)

Hoverfly (Syrphidae)

Xylophagy Feeding on wood Termite (Isoptera)

Bark beetle (Scolytinae)

Naval shipworm (Teredo navalis)

Omnivore Feeding on animals and plants Coati (Nasua / Nasuella)

Brown bear (Ursus arctos)

Darwin’s rhea (Rhea pennata)

Fungivore Feeding on fungus Vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)

Gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis)

Land slugs (Philomycidae)

Bacterivore Feeding on bacteria Vorticella campanula

Paramecium

Planktivore Feeding on plankton Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)

Bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus)

Coprophagy Feeding on feaces Oriental latrine fly (Chrysomya megacephala)

European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber)

Detritivore Feeding on decomposing material Earthworm (Megadrilacea)

Woodlouse (Oniscidea)

Fiddler crab (Uca)

Geophagy Feeding on inorganic earth, soil, clay Red and green macaw (Ara chloropterus)

Bats (Chiroptera)

Chimpanzee (Pan)

Osteophagy Feeding on bones Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

Brown bear (Ursus arctos)

Giraffe (Giraffa Camelopardalis)

Scavenger Feeding on carrion Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)

Yellowjacket (Vespula / Dolichovespula)

Red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri)

Cannibalism Feeding on members of the same species Mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex)

Praying mantis (Mantodea)

Belding’s ground squirrel (Urocitellus beldingi)

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