Monday, 19 September 2016

Signs and their Portents #2: "Necrophage"

necrophage, n.

[...] Chiefly Zool.

An organism, esp. an insect, that feeds on dead bodies or tissue. Also in extended use.

1940 Q. Rev. Biol. 15 48/2  Animals dependent on primary foods (green plants) are primary animals... Fungivores, necrophages, and coprophages are low secondaries.

1965 B. E. Freeman tr. A. Vandel Biospeleol. xix. 328  It is generally impossible to classify a cavernicole as a humiphage, xylophage, mycophage, coprophage, or necrophage.

1982 Science 10 Sept. 1059/1  No other protein sources are used by T[rigona] hypogea, and pollen transporting structures have been lost, making this species an obligate necrophage.

1994 P. J. Gullan & P. S. Cranston Insects viii. 207/2  The typical sequence of corpse necrophages, saprophages and their parasites is often referred to as following ‘waves’ of colonization.

1995 Times 20 Jan. 35/2  Hunger can make necrophages of us all.

(Source: OED)

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