Zoophagy: Predation and Parasitism

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


Zoophages or predators and parasites obtain nourishment from live animal tissue and are dealt with in this chapter. To feed predators and ectoparasites must puncture their prey or hosts and the various morphologies and features involved are diverse, but the mechanism is essentially the same and involves pinching and tightening between two trophic structures: the body wall of the prey or host until it punctures. A variety of associated features are identified with predation and ectoparasitism and their roles both as indicators of feeding mode and as a means of understanding zoophagy are evaluated. Apart from obligate zoophages, circumstantial predation is known in saprophages and possibly in phytophages. Under conditions of starvation or competition, these larvae may switch to predation, but unlike obligate predators, they are inefficient due to lack of specific puncturing mechanisms. Possible routes to obligate zoophagy through circumstantial predation and necrophagy are discussed.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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