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Pacific brown salamander eating a worm

Vermivore (from Latin vermi, meaning "worm" and vorare, "to devour") is a zoological term for animals that eat worms (including annelids, nematodes, and other worm-like animals).[1] Animals with such a diet are known to be vermivorous.[2] Some definitions are less exclusive with respect to the diet, but limit the definition to particular animals, e.g. "Feeding on worms or insect vermin. Used of a bird."[3]

An entire genus of New World warblers has been given the name Vermivora.

One vermivore that may feed exclusively on worms is Paucidentomys vermidax, a rodent species of a type commonly known as shrew rats which was discovered in 2011 in Indonesia. The name, which can be translated as "worm-eating, few-toothed mouse", refers to the fact that they have only four teeth and may live exclusively on a diet of earthworms.[4] This reduced dentition in vermivorous mammals is said to be due to relaxed selectional pressure on dental occlusion.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Animal Diversity Web". Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  2. ^ Croker, Temple H. (1766). "Vermivorous". The Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. 3.
  3. ^ "The Free Dictionary". Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  4. ^ Esselstyn, J.A., Achmadi, A.S. Rowe, K.C. (2012). Evolutionary novelty in a rat with no molars. Biology Letters, published online 22 August 2012, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2012.0574
  5. ^ Charles, Cyril; Solé, Floréal; Rodrigues, Helder Gomes; Viriot, Laurent (2013-06-01). "Under Pressure? Dental Adaptations to Termitophagy and Vermivory Among Mammals". Evolution. 67 (6): 1792–1804. doi:10.1111/evo.12051. ISSN 1558-5646. PMID 23730770.
  6. ^ "Spiny Anteaters: Licking Up Its Food". International Wildlife Encyclopedia. 18. Marshall Cavendish. 2002. p. 2488. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Chapman, James (March 4, 2003). "Moles on the March; Mild Winters and Poison Shortage Put Lawns at Risk". Daily Mail. p. 17. (subscription required)