Phytophagy and Mycophagy

  • Graham E. Rotheray
Part of the Zoological Monographs book series (ZM, volume 4)


Phytophages and mycophages obtain nourishment from live plant and fungal tissue respectively and are the subject of this chapter. Compared to the low-viscosity food utilised by most saprophages, the food of phytophages and mycophages is typically firmer and harder. To imbibe firm to hard food, phytophagous and mycophagous larvae must fragment tissue prior to sucking it up and the various morphologies and features involved are identified and compared and contrasted. The roles of these features both as indicators of feeding mode and as a means of understanding phytophagy and mycophagy are evaluated. Facultative phytophages and mycophages are a route to obligate phytophagy and mycophagy. Facultative taxa possess a complex variety of relationships with microbes that help soften and decay tissue prior to feeding, and larvae supplement their diets by feeding on associated microbes. Despite certain common features in morphology and movement, feeding and locomotor mechanisms are diverse in phytophages and mycophages and such diversity correlates to variable food qualities and conditions of access at development sites.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham E. Rotheray
    • 1
  1. 1.National Museums of ScotlandEdinburghUK

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