Glossary of Terms!
Animals that are adapted to eating plants. Herbivory is a form of predation in which an organism consumes principally autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in general are known as primary consumers.
By strict interpretation of this definition, many fungi, some bacteria, many animals, some protists and a small number of parasitic plants might be considered herbivores. However, herbivory generally refers to animals eating plants. Fungi, bacteria and protists that feed on living plants are usually termed plant pathogens (plant diseases). Microbes that feed on dead plants are saprotrophs. Flowering plants that obtain nutrition from other living plants are usually termed parasitic plants.
Herbivores form an important link in the food chain as they consume plants in order to receive the carbohydrates produced by a plant from photosynthesis. Carnivores in turn consume herbivores for the same reason, while omnivores can obtain their nutrients from either plants or herbivores. Due to an herbivore's ability to survive solely on tough and fibrous plant matter, they are termed the primary consumers in the food cycle (chain).
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