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vorare, Gk meaning ‘to devour’

September 13, 2019

Many words in the English language are derived from Ancient Greek. One of those is vorare  meaning to devour. You find it in words such as carnivore (carnis being Greek for flesh) used to describe meat eaters or omnivores (omnis being Greek for all) to describe something that eats everything. This blog post is about sporivores, creatures that eat spores.

The autumn rains have triggered the annual explosion of fungi across the landscape. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of the fungus (the same as a pear is the fruiting body of a pear tree). When the mushroom ripens it opens and releases millions of spores. These spores drop on the ground or get dispersed by the wind so the fungus can propagate. Feeding on these spores are sporivores. Knowing how big spores are (not very), these creatures are none-too-big themselves (see photo below).

Springtails (previously featured, click HERE) are small six-legged non-insects. They feed primarily on spores and hypha, the branch-like filament structure of a fungus. Some are sporivores and others are omnivorous, also feeding on animal remains and plant material. A close look at the underneath of mushrooms at the moment will reveal springtails of different colours.

Other creatures disperse spores by consuming mushrooms (fungivores) and by default consume the spores as well. These include mites, millipedes, some species of beetles and fly larvae. And finally the creatures that predate on creatures that eat spores, for example centipedes, are also known to carry viable spores which they eliminate in their faeces.

What goes in must come out…eventually.

One Comment leave one →
  1. macwake permalink
    September 15, 2019 2:05 pm

    I think the ancient Romans might be a little miffed at being sidelined by the Greeks. These words are from Latin roots, not Greek.
    A Latin pedant,

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