Herbivory

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Herbivores are organisms that are adapted to eat plants. Herbivory is a form of predation in which an organism consumes principally autotrophs[1][page needed] such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in general are known as primary consumers. Comes from the Greek suffix "vora" (Greek -βόρα) meaning "which eat".

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.

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Evolution of herbivory

Our understanding of herbivory in geological time comes from three sources: fossilized plants, which may preserve evidence of defence (such as spines), or herbivory-related damage; the observation of plant debris in fossilised animal faeces; and the construction of herbivore mouthparts.[2]

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