AskDefine | Define insectivore

Dictionary Definition



1 small insect-eating mainly nocturnal terrestrial or fossorial mammals
2 any organism that feeds mainly on insects

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (UK) /ɪnˈsɛktəˌvɔː/, /In"sEkt@%vO:/
  • (US) /ɪnˈsɛktəˌvɔɹ/, /In"sEkt@%vOr`/


  1. Insect eating animal.
    An anteater is an insectivore with a long sticky tongue so it can catch its prey.

Related terms


insect eating animal

Extensive Definition

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.
The biological order Insectivora includes a number of mammals which happen to be insectivores, but there is no necessary link. Just as many members of the order known as Carnivora are actually omnivores (and one, the Giant Panda, is an herbivore), several members of the Insectivora do not eat insects.
Some examples of insectivores include nightingale, aardwolf, echidna, swallows, anteaters, carp, frogs, lizards, bats, and spiders. Insects also can be insectivores. Examples would be dragonflies, hornets, ladybugs, and praying mantises.
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 nitrogen-poor soils, which they instead 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

insectivore in Spanish: Insectívoro
insectivore in French: Insectivore
insectivore in Indonesian: Insektivora
insectivore in Maltese: Insettivoru
insectivore in Norwegian: Insekteter
insectivore in Portuguese: Insectívoro
insectivore in Simple English: Insectivore
insectivore in Tamil: பூச்சியுண்ணி

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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