in·​sec·​tiv·​o·​rous | \ ˌin-ˌsek-ˈtiv-rəs How to pronounce insectivorous (audio) , -ˈti-və- \

Definition of insectivorous

: feeding on insects

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A wide variety of animals could be called insectivores--most of the birds, for example, as well as the spiders. Of the amphibians, frogs and many lizards are largely insectivorous. Even some fish get much of their food from insects. The order of mammals called Insectivora contains the shrews, moles, and hedgehogs, though bats and anteaters are also insectivores. Many insects are themselves insectivores; the dragonfly, for instance, is a swift insectivorous terror that lives up to its name. But it's the insectivorous plants that tend to fascinate us; of the over 600 species, the best known are the Venus flytrap (which snaps shut on its prey), the pitcher plants (which drown insects in a tiny pool of water), and the sundews (which capture insects with their sticky surfaces).

Examples of insectivorous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This dearth of insects translates into far fewer insectivorous birds for birders and nature photographers to chase. Grrlscientist, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 The insectivorous choruses actually synchronize their sibilant symphonies in a deafening, but gorgeous, hum. Ross Kenneth Urken, Scientific American, 14 June 2021 Day said that all the bats in Utah are insectivorous. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 June 2021 Lagerpetids were small, insectivorous and possibly bipedal reptiles that lived between 201 and 237 million years ago, reports Will Dunham for Reuters. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Dec. 2020 By spreading seeds, fruit bats help regenerate rainforests, and by eating insects, insectivorous bats help protect plants – including crops – from pests. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Sep. 2020 Although some people may first think of the blood-drinking vampire bat, there are also insectivorous and fruit bats. Mary Grace Keller,, 28 Oct. 2019 Their analysis revealed that half of the species examined were likely at least partially herbivorous, while some were probably insectivorous and others were strictly herbivores. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, 28 June 2019 Photo: Getty Images Without insects, the world’s populations of larger insectivorous species like birds, bats and freshwater fish would simply collapse. Anne Sverdrup-thygeson, WSJ, 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insectivorous.' 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 insectivorous

1661, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of insectivorous was in 1661

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insectivorous plant

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Cite this Entry

“Insectivorous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for insectivorous


in·​sec·​tiv·​o·​rous | \ ˌin-ˌsek-ˈtiv-(ə-)rəs How to pronounce insectivorous (audio) \

Medical Definition of insectivorous

: depending on insects as food


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