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insectivore

insectivore (Ĭnsĕk´təvōr´), term broadly given to any insect-eating animal or plant. The term also refers to mammals of the former order Insectivora, in which was included the shrew, mole, hedgehog, tenrec, and solenodon. Members of this group, which were thought to be closely related to the earliest placental mammals, are small animals, ranging from 2 to 16 in. (5–40 cm) in length; they are generally quite active, are generally nocturnal, and feed on a variety of small animals, particularly worms and insects. The other groups of placental mammals, including the primates, the order to which humans belong, were considered to have evolved as radiations from a primitive insectivore stock; the tenrecs, for example, have certain anatomical features in common with the more primitive marsupials, or pouched mammals. Those former insectivores that were not reclassified in another order are now included in the orders Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs) and Soricomorpha (shrews, moles, and solenodons).

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insectivore

insectivore Any member of the order of carnivorous mammals Insectivora, many of which eat insects. Almost worldwide in distribution, some species live underground, some on the ground and some in streams and ponds. Most insectivores have narrow snouts, long skulls and five-clawed feet. The order consists of three families: Erinaceidae (moon rats, gymures, hedgehogs); Talpidae (moles, shrew moles, desmans); and Soricidae (shrews). Six other families, including tree shrews and solenodons, are also often part of the order.

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insectivore

in·sec·ti·vore / inˈsektəˌvôr/ • n. an insectivorous animal or plant. ∎  Zool. a mammal of the order Insectivora.

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insectivore

insectivore An animal that eats insects, especially a mammal of the order Insectivora (hedgehogs, shrews, etc.).

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insectivore

insectivore •Ifor • Gwynfor • herbivore • carnivore •omnivore • insectivore

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Insectivore

Insectivore

Insectivores are predators that catch and eat insects. These predators may also eat other small invertebrates, such as spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and earthworms, as well.

Some insectivores specialize in catching and feeding upon flying insects, sometimes called aeroplankton. Examples of this type include dragonflies, smaller species of bats, flycatchers, swallows, and swifts. Insectivores that feed on flying insects must be quick and maneuverable fliers, and must have acute means of detecting their prey. Most species are visual predators, meaning they detect flying insects by sight. Bats, however, feed in darkness at night or dusk, and they locate their prey using echolocation, a type of biological sonar.

Other insectivores are gleaners, and they carefully search surfaces for insects to eat. Most gleaners visually examine the surfaces of plant leaves and the branches and trunks of trees. Many birds that exploit the forest canopy hunt insects in this way, for example, warblers and vireos; as does the praying mantis.

A few insectivore species find their prey in wood. They may excavate substantial cavities as they search for food, as do many woodpeckers, and sometimes bears searching for beetle grubs or carpenter ants.

Large numbers of insects live in soil and in the organic matter that sits atop the soil. Many species of burrowing and digging mammals feed on insects and other invertebrates in this substrate, including shrews,

moles, and hedgehogs (in fact, the order of these small mammals is called Insectivora). Some birds also hunt insects located in surface litter, for example, thrushes and grouse. There are also many species of burrowing, predacious insects and mites that hunt insects within this zone.

Freshwater lakes, ponds, and wetlands can harbor enormous numbers of insects, and these are eaten by a wide range of insectivores. Trout, for example, feed voraciously on aquatic insects. A few species of birds, known as dippers, actually submerge themselves and walk underwater in mountain streams, searching on and under stones and debris for bottom-dwelling insects.

Virtually all insectivores are animals. However, a few plants have also evolved specialized morphologies and behaviors to trap, kill, and digest insects and other small invertebrates. Usually, these plants grow in nutrient-deficient habitats, such as bogs and dilute lakes. Examples of so-called insectivorous plants include the venus flytrap, sundews, and pitcher plants.

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Insectivore

Insectivore

Strictly speaking, insectivores are any predators that catch and eat insects . Often, however, insectivorous predators also eat other small invertebrates , such as spiders, millipedes , centipedes , and earthworms.

Some insectivores specialize in catching and feeding upon flying insects, sometimes called aeroplankton. Some prominent examples of this insectivorous feeding strategy include dragonflies , smaller species of bats , flycatchers, swallows, and swifts . Insectivores that feed on flying insects must be quick and maneuverable fliers, and they must have acute means of detecting their prey . Most species are visual predators, meaning they detect flying insects by sight. Bats, however, feed in darkness at night or dusk, and they locate their prey using echolocation , a type of biological sonar.

Other insectivores are gleaners, and they carefully search surfaces for insects to eat. Most gleaners visually examine the surfaces of plant leaves and the branches and trunks of trees. Many birds that exploit the forest canopy hunt insects in this way, for example, warblers and vireos ; as does the praying mantis .

A few species of insectivores specialize by finding their prey inside of wood . These insectivores may excavate substantial cavities as they search for food, as is the case of many species of woodpeckers , and sometimes bears searching for beetle grubs or carpenter ants .

Large numbers of insects live in soil and in the organic matter that sits atop the soil. Many species of burrowing and digging small mammals feed on insects and other invertebrates in this substrate, including shrews , moles , and hedgehogs (in fact, the order of these small mammals is called Insectivora). Some birds also hunt insects
located in surface litter, for example, thrushes and grouse . There are also many species of burrowing, predacious insects and mites that hunt insects within this zone.

Freshwater lakes, ponds, and wetlands can harbor enormous numbers of insects, and these are eaten by a wide range of insectivores. Trout, for example, feed voraciously on aquatic insects whenever they are available in abundance. A few species of birds, known as dippers, actually submerge themselves and walk underwater in mountain streams, deliberately searching on and under stones and debris for their prey of bottom-dwelling insects.

Virtually all insectivores are animals. However, a few plants have also evolved specialized morphologies and behaviors for trapping, killing, and digesting insects and other small invertebrates, and then absorbing some of their nutrients . Usually, these plants grow in nutrient-deficient habitats, such as bogs and dilute lakes. Examples of so-called insectivorous plants include the Venus' flytrap, sundews, and pitcher plants.

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