Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


  • Jacqueline BoydEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_880-1



An omnivore is an organism with a dietary intake consisting of both plant- and animal-derived materials.


An omnivore is defined as an animal that consumes both plant- and animal-derived foods, the prefix being derived from the Latin words omnis, meaning “all,” and vor, meaning “to devour.” Omnivores can obtain their dietary energy and nutrient requirements from a mixed diet of plant and animal origin and will occasionally include other sources of nourishment in their diet such as fungi, algae, and bacteria. Omnivory can be characterized as behavioral and/or physiological, based on the spatial and temporal availability of foodstuff, combined with an organism’s intrinsic ability to obtain energy and other nutrients from ingested material. Certain omnivorous species will demonstrate specific anatomical, physiological, and/or behavioral specializations and adaptations for the acquisition and processing of specific foodstuff.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Skinner’s Pet FoodsStradbrokeUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lauren Guillette
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada