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Lion eating
Sarracenia rubra , carnivorous plant

As carnivores (including carnivores , from Latin caro - genitive carnis - 'flesh' and vorare , Devour, eat greedy ', or Zoophagen , from ancient Greek ζῷον zoon "creatures" and φαγεῖν phagein "eat") refers to animals , plants and mushrooms , which are mainly or exclusively of animal tissue feed .

This distinguishes them from herbivores (herbivores), who predominantly prefer plant-based foods, and from omnivores (omnivores), such as people whose diet is mixed. As scavengers , however organisms are called, different from carrion animals feed, so that they have already found dead. They cannot always be clearly separated from carnivores.

Carnivores include species of almost all animal phyla. Among the vertebrates such count. As many species of mammals to, especially in the orders of carnivores , insectivores , whales and dasyuridae-like , numerous bird - and reptile species, especially birds of prey , crocodiles , lizards and snakes , as well as many species of fish, not least among the sharks . Carnivory is much more common among the arthropods . Much of the arachnids (Arachnida), especially spiders (Araneae) and scorpions (Scorpiones), feed mainly on other arthropods. Mites (Acari) and harvestmen (Opiliones), however, are only partially carnivorous. There are also numerous carnivorous groups among insects , e.g. As assassin bugs (Reduviidae), the majority of the ground beetle species (Carabidae) and Hymenoptera (Hymenoptera). Many parasitoids can be found under the latter .

Carnivores (Carnivores) should not be confused with the mammal - order carnivores (Carnivora). Carnivora are not necessarily carnivores, and carnivores do not necessarily belong to the order Carnivora. There are carnivores in many lineages, both animals and plants. There are also representatives of the carnivores, which, like many bears , feed mainly on plant-based food and are therefore omnivores.

Differentiation of terms in terrestrial vertebrates

With zoophagous land vertebrates (Tetrapoda) a distinction is often made between carnivores in the narrower sense and insectivores ( insectivores ). While carnivores in the narrower sense predominantly feed on muscle meat (usually self-killed) smaller vertebrates, insectivores mainly eat insects and other terrestrial invertebrates ( earthworms , land snails ). As a rule, these two forms of nutrition correlate with the height reached by the representatives of the species in question. Carnivores in the narrower sense are usually larger than insectivores.

In the case of carnivores in the narrower sense, a further differentiation is made between carnivores in the narrowest sense, who mainly feed on the muscle meat of other tetrapods, and fish-eaters (piscivores), who specialize in hunting and eating fish (mostly representatives of the real bony fish ). The carnivores in the narrowest sense are usually the top predators in their ecosystem .

When it comes to the eating habits of carnivorous mammals in particular, the proportion of vertebrate meat in the food spectrum is sometimes differentiated into hypocarnivory (maximum 30% vertebrate meat), mesocarnivory (50–70% vertebrate meat) and hypercarnivory (more than 70% vertebrate meat).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Carnivores  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Erich Pertsch: Langenscheidts Large School Dictionary Latin-German. Langenscheidt, Berlin 1978, ISBN 3-468-07201-5 .
  2. ^ Blaire Van Valkenburgh: Déjà vu: the evolution of feeding morphologies in the Carnivora. Integrative and Comparative Biology. Vol. 47, No. 1, 2007, pp. 147–163, doi: 10.1093 / icb / icm016 (Open Access)