Are There Carnivorous Insects?

Insects are known for having diets that are rich in plant matter such as flowers, seeds, nectar or leaves, but about one-third of all insect species are carnivorous, which means that they eat animal flesh. Although some carnivorous insects eat dung or rotting meat, the majority of them hunt for their food. For instance, beetles are predators that actively hunt for prey, such as slugs and worms. The beetles then use their sharp mouth appendages known as mandibles to trap, crush and eat their prey. Other carnivorous insects — notably mosquitoes — survive primarily on a diet that involves sucking the blood of humans or other animals.

More about how insects eat:

  • It has been estimated that there are 1.5 billion insects for every person on Earth.

  • Some carnivorous insects, such as botflies and sexton beetles, lay their eggs in the flesh of dead, decaying mammals so the larvae have an immediate food source after hatching.

  • Ants, wasps, grasshoppers and beetles chew much like humans do. They hold food in their jaws and move them sideways to chew the food.

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