What Eats Fungi?

Certain groups of organisms known as fungivores feed almost entirely on fungi, while other groups known as omnivores consume it in addition to other types of food. Many different types of animals, including mammals, molluscs, insects and birds feed on fungi.

Around 22 different omnivorous primates eat fungi, including gorillas, bonobos and lemurs. Humans consume certain types of fungi, such as mushrooms, as part of their diets. Northern flying squirrels are one of the few mammals that feed almost entirely on various species of fungi. Slugs and snails are able to consume a wide variety of fungi, including many types that would be considered poisonous to other animals. Some slugs and snails only eat a fungus when it's at a particular point of development, while others eat fungi at all stages of development.

Insects such as ants, scuttle flies and fungus gnats consume certain types of fungi as well. Several hundred species of ant; a few species of beetle, such as the Ambrosia beetle; and around 330 species of termites are exclusively fungivores. Ambrosia beetles, like marine snails, both farm and feed on fungi. Finally, many species of birds, such as jays and larks, rely on fungi as a primary food source, particularly during early winter months.