A herbivore is an animal that gets its energy from eating plants. Herbivores are primary consumers and can include mammals, reptiles, insects, and birds. All herbivores have unique physical features that adapted to feeding and digesting fibrous plant matter. Below is a list of some of the animals that are considered to be herbivores.
Animals That Are Herbivores
The African buffalo is one of the largest bovines in the world, inhabiting the savannah and mopane grasslands of central, west, east, and south Africa. African buffaloes are herbivorous and primarily feed on plants. Their main diet comprises of grass and herbs sometimes feeding on shrubs and trees when grass is scarce. The animal has flattened molars that help them to crush and chew fibrous plants that make its diet. They also have specific bacteria, fungi, and protozoa within their digestive system to help break down the cellulose in the plant matter.
The hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), commonly known as the stink bird, is a tropical bird inhabiting the swamps, mangrove, and riparian forests of the Amazon and Orinoco Delta in South America. The hoatzin is among the few bird species that are predominantly herbivorous. Its main diet comprises of 82% leaves and to a lesser degree, 10% flowers, and 8% fruits of plants found in the swampy and riverine habitats where they inhabit. The species has a digestive system similar to that of ruminants where it uses bacterial fermentation in the front part of the gut to break down the plants they consume. However, unlike ruminants with a rumen, hoatzins have a large crop, which folds in two chambers, and a large, multi-chambered lower esophagus.
The green iguana, commonly known as the American iguana, is an arboreal lizard species native to Central, South America, and the Caribbean. Green iguanas are primarily herbivorous, usually feeding on the leaves of turnip greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, flowers, fruits, wild plum, and growing shoots of different plant species. Their bodies have various adaptations that enable them to feed on plants such as their sharp leaf like broad teeth with serrations on the edges to allow them to shred leaves and shoots.
Grasshoppers are herbivorous insects distinguished by their long antennae and strong hind limbs that enable them to escape danger. At high population densities promoted by environmental conditions, grasshoppers can change color and form large swarms which are often known as locusts. Grasshoppers are polyphagous herbivores feeding on multiple plant sources including cereals, pasture, and vegetables. Grasshoppers usually chew the food slightly and the salivary glands in the buccal cavity digest the carbohydrates before passing it to the crop for chemical digestion.
Role of Herbivores in the Food Chain
Herbivores play an important role in the food chain since they provide food for secondary consumers in the food web (carnivores). The ecosystem must always be in a position to provide enough food to sustain herbivores animals and continue with the processes of the food chain. The impact of herbivory is indispensable in the ecosystem as shown in the predator-prey theory, which is cyclic. The population of herbivores fluctuates around the carrying capacity of plants where an increase in plants increases the population of herbivores and a decline in plants reduces that population of the herbivores.
What is a Herbivore? List of Herbivores
|Rank||Animal Name||Animal Type|
|51||Solomon Islands Skink||Reptile|
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