Macroherbivory Feeders

Macroherbivory feeders obtain food by consuming macroscopic plants. One of the best protostome examples of plant feeders is the order Orthoptera (crickets, locust, and grasshoppers). Members of this order have developed specialized mouthparts and muscle structures to bite and chew. The African Copiphorinae, for example, uses its large jaws to open seeds. Biting and chewing mouthparts are also seen in beetles and many orders of insects. Two other types of mouth-parts common to macroherbivory feeders are sucking and piercing. Sucking mouthparts enable insects such as butterflies and honey bees to gather nectar, pollen, and other liquids. Protostomes such as cicadas feed by drawing blood or plant juices. The leaf cutter ants (Atta cephalotes) are interesting example of macroherbivory feeders. These ants cut leaves and flowers and transport them to their nests where they are used to grow a fungus that is their main food source. A related feeding behavior is also found in termites (Isoptera). Termites of the species Longipeditermes longipes forage for detritus such as rotting leaves that become a culture medium for the fungi on which they feed.

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