in·​sec·​ti·​vore | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌvȯr How to pronounce insectivore (audio) \

Definition of insectivore

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 The animals are fed produce, mice, crickets, mealworms, eggs, and insectivore pellets. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "L.A. Zoo Welcomes 4 'Energetic' Meerkat Pups — and They're Already Busy Digging," 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, "Fossil Site Reveals How Mammals Thrived After the Death of the Dinosaurs," 25 Oct. 2019 And all of these species are insectivores, happy to feed on the creatures that provide them shelter. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "These animals make homes for other species," 25 June 2019 Ironically, white-nose syndrome’s arrival in California comes at a time when local naturalists are taking increasing notice of the chocolate-brown, mouse-size insectivores. Louis Sahagun,, "A deadly fungus is killing millions of bats in the US. Now it’s in California," 5 July 2019 These animals play an important role in the ecosystem as insectivores, pollinators and seed dispersers, the authors wrote. Kimberly Hickok, Fox News, "Scientists discover a sixth species of Ebola virus — in bats," 27 Aug. 2018 The researchers live-trapped 12 shrews in June 2014, X-raying the tiny insectivores and implanting them with microchips. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Shrews Shrink Their Skulls and Brains for the Winter," 25 Oct. 2017 Most small lizards are insectivores, which often eat every day. National Geographic, "Colorful, Venomous Lizard Is Declining Due to Climate Change," 22 July 2016 Reptilian, amphibian, and mammalian insectivores could have also heard A. musicus’ song. Brandon Keim, WIRED, "Audio: 165-Million-Year-Old Cricket Song Comes Back to Life," 6 Feb. 2012

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insectivore.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of insectivore

1840, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for insectivore

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

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Time Traveler for insectivore

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The first known use of insectivore was in 1840

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Cite this Entry

“Insectivore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for insectivore



English Language Learners Definition of insectivore

technical : an animal that eats insects


in·​sec·​ti·​vore | \ in-ˈsek-tə-ˌvō(ə)r, -ˌvȯ(ə)r How to pronounce insectivore (audio) \

Medical Definition of insectivore

1 : any mammal of the order Insectivora
2 : an insectivorous plant or animal

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