Web Word Quests Site   

There is one search term on this page.

Phagy Words: “macrophagous” to “ostreophagous”,
Part 3 of 4

Words that include: phago-, phag-, -phage, -phagi,
-phagic, -phagically, -phagia, -phagism, -phagist, -phagic,
-phagous, -phag
(Greek: eat, eating, consume, ingest)

Quiz   If you would like to take a self-scoring quiz over some of the words in this section, then click Phagy-Quiz which is located at the end of this set of definitions so you can see how much you know about these “phagy” words.

macrophagous, macrophage, macrophagy:
Feeding on relatively large food particles or prey.
macrophytophagous, macrophytophage, macrophytophagy:
Eating higher plant material only.
Chewing lice; order of small wingless hemipterodean insects that live exclusively as obligate ectoparasites of birds and mammals; body depressed, mouthparts specialized for chewing; eggs attached to hair or feathers; some may be of economic importance in domestic animals.
A reference to an insect that devoures wool, hair, feathers, etc.; applied to the Mallophaga, a group of apodous parasitic insects.
meconophagism, meconophagy:
Opium eating.
An opium eater.
meliphagous, meliphagy:
Feeding on honey.
microphagous, microphage, microphagy:
Feeding on relatively minute particles or on very small prey.
monophagism, monophagia, monophagous, monophagy:
1. A desire for one kind of food only.
2. The eating of only one meal a day.
mycophagous, mycophage, mycophagy: The ingestion of mushrooms and other fungi.

A genus of animals, the ant bear
The anteater family.
myrmecophage, myrmecophagous, myrmecophagy:
Feeding on ants or termites.
  • Both ants and termites are ancient groups and are known to have existed in their present form in the Mesozoic, some 100 million years ago, and termites may have originated even before that.
  • Considering their abundance and the diversity of ecological niches that ants and termites occupy in tropical America, it is surprising to find only four species of mammals specializing on them.
  • Certain armadillos eat ants and termites, but with the exception of the rare giant armadillo, Priodontes, they probably eat a variety of other insects as well and are not specialized to the same degree as the myrmecophagists (anteaters).
  • One reason for the difficulty in specializing on ants and termites seems to be the range of defenses that these insects have evolved.
  • Biting, stinging, and chemical secretions may have evolved initially to cope with small invertegrate predators, especially other predatory ants.
  • These defenses are also effective against vertebrate predators, ranging from toads and anole lizards to armadillos and myrmecophagists.
  • Ant and termite specialists have evolved independently in very different groups of mammals in the different tropical regions of the world.
  • Pangolins, or scaly myrmecophagists, occur in Africa and tropical Asia; aardvarks and aardwolves (the latter are a species of hyena) are found in Africa; Australia has a marsupial myrmecophagist, the numbat, and a monotreme (egg-laying mammal), the echidna.
Information for this section is based on “Eating Ants Is No Picnic”
by Yael D. Lubin in the October, 1983, issue of Natural History.

necrophagous, necrophage, necrophagy:
1. To eat or subsist on dead bodies; such as, carrion.
2. Feeding on dead material; saprophytic. [carrion: the decaying flesh of a dead body; rotten, filthy, etc.]
nekrophytophagous, nekrophytophage, nekrophytophagy:
Feeding on dead plant material.
neuronophagous, neuronophage, neuronophagy:
Phagocytosis of nerve cells.
neustophagous, neustophage, neustophagy:
Eating organisms living in the surface film of a body of water (neuston).
odynophagous, odynophage, odynophagy:
Pain when swallowing (eating).
oligophagous, oligophage, oligophagy:
Utilizing only a small variety of food species.
omophagia, omophagic, omophagous:
Eating raw food, especially raw flesh.
A person who eats raw flesh.
onychophagia, onychophagy:
The habit of biting one’s fingernails; habitual nailbiting.
One who chews on his/her fingernails.
oophagous, oophagia, oophagy:
1. The habitual eating of eggs; subsisting largely on eggs.
2. The eating of eggs; said of insects whose diet consists largely of eggs.
    In an article titled, “You Eat What You Are” by Martha L. Crump in Natural History, February, 1991; we find:

  • In Costa Rica, it’s a frog-eat-frog world.
  • In the lush highlands of the Cordillera de Tilarán, a mountain range in northwestern Costa Rica, little cannibals eliminate the competition in the muddy puddles of a rain-soaked pasture.
  • Hundreds of meadow-tree frog tadpoles voraciously devour eggs that adult frogs have just deposited.
  • Searching the pasture for more cases of oophagy, the author found that some pools contained only eggs, while other pools had only tadpoles.
  • In every pool with both, the tadpoles were eating the eggs.
  • What is more, the tadpoles were not eating the unfertilized or “dead”, eggs, but rather the fertilized ones.
  • Even very young tadpoles, just a few days old, gobbled up freshly deposited eggs.
  • Tadpoles also consumed hatchlings.
  • The author also saw tadpoles feeding on tadpoles their own size and age in the pasture depressions.
  • Cannibalism which scientistS define as the eating of a live individual of one’s own kind, is not rare.
  • It has been documented in more than 1,300 species, from insects to mammals, and is especially common when populations are dense and food is limited.
  • Under such conditions, the cannibal eats well and at the same time eliminates a possible competitor or predator.
ophiophagous, ophiophage, ophiophagy:
1. Feeding on snakes.
2. Eating or consuming serpents.
3. There is a genus of very venomous serpents related to the cobra, inhabiting the East Indies, that eat other snakes.
Eating snakes.
The ingestion of delicacies; such as, sweets, desserts, or other rich fare.
osteophagous, ostephagous, osteophagy:
Eating bones, perverted appetite seen in cattle suffering from mineral (phosphorus or calcium) deficiency.
ostreophagous, ostrephagous, ostreophagy:
The consumption or eating of oysters.

Quiz    You may take a self-scoring quiz over some of the words in this section by just clicking on Phagy Quiz #3 to check your word knowledge for this section.