insectivore

noun

in·​sec·​ti·​vore in-ˈsek-tə-ˌvȯr How to pronounce insectivore (audio)
1
: any of an order (Insectivora) of small usually nocturnal mammals (such as moles, shrews, and hedgehogs) that feed mainly on insects
2
: an insectivorous plant or animal

Examples of insectivore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Most bats are insectivores that eat mosquitoes and other agricultural pests, or act as pollinators and seed spreaders. Emily Mullin, WIRED, 31 Oct. 2023 This year, Handa said there was a potential delay in insect production due to sustaining cooler temperatures, which could have an impact on the breeding schedule of insectivores, the birds that eat bugs. Maura Fox, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2023 The specific patterns, and the earliest mammals' relatively small size, are reminiscent of modern small insectivores—which use quick bites and a dental tool kit of puncturing and crushing teeth to bust through arthropod carapaces. Riley Black, Scientific American, 28 June 2023 The teeth and size of the new reptile line up with the idea that Opisthiamimus was an insectivore says Harvard University paleontologist Tiago Simões, who was not involved in the new study. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Sep. 2022 Aardvarks are nocturnal, insectivore mammals native to Africa, according to National Geographic. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 28 June 2022 The image of what a Mesozoic mammal is—that is, mammals that lived during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods—has often been stereotyped as a small, snuffling insectivore that foraged at night. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 July 2021 The animals are fed produce, mice, crickets, mealworms, eggs, and insectivore pellets. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, 30 June 2020 And even when mammals are included in studies of the Mesozoic, they are often characterized as small, shrew-like insectivores like the 205 million-year-old Morganucodon from Wales and China. Riley Black, Smithsonian, 25 Oct. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'insectivore.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

New Latin Insectivora, from Latin insectum + -vorus -vorous

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of insectivore was in 1840

Dictionary Entries Near insectivore

Cite this Entry

“Insectivore.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insectivore. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

insectivore

noun
in·​sec·​ti·​vore in-ˈsek-tə-ˌvō(ə)r How to pronounce insectivore (audio)
-ˌvȯ(ə)r
1
: any of an order of small mammals (as the moles, shrews, and hedgehogs) that are mostly insect-eating and active at night
2
: an insect-eating plant or animal

Medical Definition

insectivore

noun
in·​sec·​ti·​vore in-ˈsek-tə-ˌvō(ə)r, -ˌvȯ(ə)r How to pronounce insectivore (audio)
1
: any mammal of the order Insectivora
2
: an insectivorous plant or animal

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