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Diversity in animal nutrition

Even though the basic requirement for nutrition is the same for all higher animals, there is diversity in mechanisms for intake of food. On the basis of how they obtain nutrition, living organisms are classified into two main types :


  1. Autotrophic,which prepare their own food. These include photosynthetic and chemosynthetic bacteria and photosynthetic plants.

  2. Heterotrophic, which require prepared organic substances as their food. All animals fall in this category. They depend on plants or other animals for nutrition. This category may be further subdivided into the as following groups:

a) Holozoic, in which animals take in their food in solid and a non-diffusible form. Those which feed on plants are called herbivores, like rabbit, cow etc., and those which feed on other animals are called carnivores. The carnivores like lions and tigers which hunt their prey alive are called predators, while animals like vultures which feed on the dead animals are known as scavengers. Other groups of animals like cats, dogs, humans, etc. which feed both on plants as well as animals are called omnivores.

Food         Herbivores Carnivores Omnivores Parasites

Figure. 16.2 Diverse nutritional types

b) Parasites are those animals that live in or on the body of another animal called host and obtain prepared food from the host.

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Table of Contents

16.0 - Introduction
16.1 - Nutritional Requirements, Imbalances and Deficiency Diseases
16.2 - Organs of Digestion and Physiology of Digestion

Chapter 17


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