Animals are classified based upon dietary preferences.
- Animal Classification (Science)
- See Trophics for a related science.
- 1 Description (Specifications)
- 1.1 Autotrophs
- 1.2 Carnivores
- 1.3 Ergivores
- 1.4 Herbivores
- 1.5 Omnivores
- 1.6 Scavengers
- 2 History & Background (Dossier)
- 3 = Terran Biological Classification Systems
- 4 References & Contributors (Sources)
Animals (lifeforms) primarily come in the following common consumptive classifications (ccc):
- 1. Autotrophs
- 2. Carnivores
- 3. Ergivores
- 4. Herbivores
- 5. Omnivores
- 6. Scavengers
The listing is alphabetical, rather than thematical.
- NOTE: Please note that while many alien lifeforms fit cleanly in one of the standard trophic animal classifications, many extant lifeforms such as the Daghadasi do not fit cleanly in this schematic and apply to several different trophic classifications.
An Autotroph produces it's own food, building more complex compounds from an external source of energy, such as light or chemical reactions of inorganic compounds. While most autotropes are plants there are a number of animals which supplement or subsist upon their autotrophic food source.
- Primary producers
- The best known autotrophs are plants, algae, fungi, and bacteria.
- NOTE: Many autotrophs absorb various kind of electromagnetic (EM) energy including electrical currents, sunlight, plasma, and radioactivity.
Animal Classification (Science) Table of Autotrophic Consumption & Classification Trophic Class Trophic Subclass Activity Consumption Style Animal Matter (Live) Plant Matter (Live or Dead) Carrion (Dead Animal) Inorganic Matter Other Matter Autotroph Generalist Passive Absorption No No No Yes Yes Autotroph Chemotroph Either Absorption No No No Yes (Chemical) No Autotroph Electrosynthetic Autotroph Passive Absorption No No No Yes Yes (EM Current) Autotroph Phototroph Passive Absorption No No No Yes Yes (EM Sunlight) Autotroph Plasmasynthetic autotroph Either Absorption No No No Yes Yes (EM Plasma) Autotroph Radiosynthetic autotroph Passive Absorption No No No Yes Yes (EM Radiation)
Chemotrophs obtain their energy from chemical reactions in the environment around them, usually from inorganic compounds. (e.g. Terran examples include bacteria around hydrothermal vents and cold seeps on the sea floor.)
- Chemotrophs are extremely common.
Electrosynthetic Autotrophs use an electrical current, usually a mild one as generated from natural batteries, to supply their energy needs.
- Electrosynthetic Autotrophs are rare and some conjecture that all Electrosynthetic Autotrophs are synthetic in nature.
Phototrophs obtain their energy from light, usually sunlight.
- The typical phototrophs are plants.
- Phototrophs are extremely common.
These are autotrophic organisms which use the energy of high energy plasma, usually solar winds and cosmic rays as their energy source. These life forms are either airborne or vacuum dwelling, to allow them access to the constant source of high energy particles they require.
- They are extremely rare and some scientists conjecture that such lifeforms may dwell within the centers of actively volcanic planets or within the stars themselves.
These are autotrophic organisms which use the energy of radioactive decay to power their chemical processes.
- They are also extremely rare.
Animals which prey on other animals by attacking them and killing them in the face of resistance are classed as carnivores.
- Tertiary (plus) consumers
Animal Classification (Science) Table of Carnivorous Consumption & Classification Trophic Class Trophic Subclass Activity Consumption Style Animal Matter (Live) Plant Matter (Live or Dead) Carrion (Dead Animal) Inorganic Matter Other Matter Carnivore General Active Various Yes No No No No Carnivore Chaser Active Pursuit Yes No No No No Carnivore Killer Active Killing Yes No No No No Carnivore Pouncer Active Ambush Yes No No No No Carnivore Siren Active Lure Yes No No No No Carnivore Trapper Active Trap Yes No No No No
Carnivores are of five basic types:
Animals which kill their prey by attacking after a chase are termed chasers. They tend to be pack animals. (e.g. Typical chasers are wolves.)
Certain carnivores devote much attention to killing, often apparently for the act itself, in a kind of blood lust. Killers reason (such as territorial defense) is replace by a raw killing instinct. Attacks by killers are fierce and violent. Killers will generally disregard the defenders size as a factor. (e.g. A typical Terran killer is the shark.)
Animals which kill their prey by attacking from hiding, or by stalking and springing are termed pouncers. Because of the difficulty of coordinating such attacks, pouncers are solitary animals. In an encounter, pouncers which have achieved surprise have succeeded in their basic aim, and will attack regardless of range. They will flee if surprised themselves. (e.g. Typical Terran pouncers are cats.)
Distinct from the Trapper, which creates a trap for its prey, a siren also creates a lure to draw prey to its trap. In most cases, the lure will be specifically aimed at certain animals, but may be unnoticed by humans. In rare cases, the lure will be universal, perhaps a scent, or a mirage or beautiful configuration, which will attract people into a vulnerable position. Very rarely, the lure will be psionic in nature. (e.g. Typical Terran sirens are the angler fish (its mouth is the trap) and the venus fly trap.)
Animals which passively allow their prey to enter a created trap, wherein they are killed and then eaten are termed trappers. Trappers tend to be solitary and slow, but will attack any animal which enters their trap. (e.g. A typical Terran trapper is the spider. Less typical is the ant lion.)
Animals which consume energy directly, rather than converting portions of consumed plants or animals into usable energy are termed Ergivores.
- Non-ordinal consumers
Animal Classification (Science) Table of Ergivorous Consumption & Classification Trophic Class Trophic Subclass Activity Consumption Style Animal Matter (Live) Plant Matter (Live or Dead) Carrion (Dead Animal) Inorganic Matter Other Matter Ergivore Generalist Either Various Yes Yes No No No Ergivore Parasite Either Vampiric Yes Yes No No No Ergivore Symbiont Either Symbiontic Various Various Various Various Various
Animals which eat unresisting food are generally classed as herivores. While is is usually construed as covering plant eaters, the definition is extended here to cover the eating of unresisting animals as well. (e.g. For example, the anteater and the whale eat effectively unresisting animals (ants and krill) and are hereby classed as herbivores.)
Animal Classification (Science) Table of Herbivorous Consumption & Classification Trophic Class Trophic Subclass Activity Consumption Style Animal Matter (Live) Plant Matter (Live or Dead) Carrion (Dead Animal) Inorganic Matter Other Matter Herbivore Generalist Active Various No Yes No No No Herbivore Filter Passive Filtering Yes Yes No No No Herbivore Grazer Active Grazing No Yes No No No
Herbivores have several basic types:
Herbivores which pass the enviornment through their bodies are termed filters. Unlike grazers, which move to food, filters move a flow of water or air through themselves in order to gain food. Generally, filters will suck, trip, push or pull anything (even animals) at close range into a digestive sac. Filters are solitary and generally slow moving. They will attack reflexively. A filter can absorb an animal up to twice it own mass. (e.g. Terran filters are generally aquatic, such as the barnacle.)
Animals which devote most of their time to eating are termed grazers. They may be solitary, or grouped in herds. Their primary defense is flight, although such action may result in stampedes which could endanger people in their path. When forced to fight, they will fight fiercely until killed or routed. (e.g. Typical Terran grazers are the antelope and the moose. The whale (which scoops krill from the sea as it swims through it) is also a grazer.)
Herbivores which do not devote full time to eating are termed intermittents. In other words, they eat intermittently or some of the time and can engage in other behaviors when their nutritional needs are met. They tend to be solitary. Intermittents will usually freeze when an encounter occurs, fleeing if attacked by a larger animal. There is some potential that an intermittent will attack to protect territory or young. (e.g. Typical Terran intermittents are the chipmunk and the elephant.)
Herbivores which must devote their full time to eating are termed obligates. In other words, they are obligated to eat or must eat the majority of their time and have little time to engage in other behaviors until their nutritional needs are met. Many grazers and filters are also obligates.
Animals which eat food without regard to its resistance are termed omnivores.
- (e.g. The bear, which will eat fruits and berries as readily as it will hunt for animals, is an omnivore.)
- Secondary plus consumer
Animal Classification (Science) Table of Omnivorous Consumption & Classification Trophic Class Trophic Subclass Activity Consumption Style Animal Matter (Live) Plant Matter (Live or Dead) Carrion (Dead Animal) Inorganic Matter Other Matter Omnivore Generalist Active Various Yes Yes Yes No No Omnivore Eater Active Eating Yes Yes Yes Yes No Omnivore Gatherer Active Gathering No Yes Yes No No Omnivore Hunter Active Hunting Yes No Yes No No
Omnivores are of three types:
The true omnivore (in the sense that it will eat anything and everything) does not distinguish its food, consuming all it is confronted with. Eaters present considerable danger in that they will not avoid people when encountered. (e.g. Typical of Terran eaters is the Army Ant, when an entire swarm is considered to be one organism.)
Animals which display a greater tendency toward herbivorous behavior are termed gatherers. In most respects they are similar to Intermittents. (e.g. Typical Terran gatherers are raccoons and chimpansees.)
Animals which display a greater tendency toward carnivorous behavior are termed hunters. In most respects, they are similar to small or inefficient chasers. (e.g. Typical Terran hunters are baboons and Humans.)
Animals which share or steal the prey of others, or take the remains of kills, are classed as scavengers.
- Secondary plus consumer
Animal Classification (Science) Table of Scavenging Consumption & Classification Trophic Class Trophic Subclass Activity Consumption Style Animal Matter (Live) Plant Matter (Live or Dead) Carrion (Dead Animal) Inorganic Matter Other Matter Scavenger Generalist Active Various Yes Sometimes Yes No No Scavenger Carrion-eater Active Carrion-eating Yes No Yes No No Scavenger Hijacker Active Stealing Yes No Yes No No Scavenger Intimidator Active Threatening Yes No Yes No No Scavenger Reducer Either Reduction (Decomposition) Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Scavengers are of the following four types:
Scavengers which take dead meat as it becomes available, often waiting patiently for all other threats to disperse before beginning, are termed carrion-eaters. (e.g. Most typical of the Terran carrion eaters is the buzzard.)
Scavengers which establish their claim to food by simply taking it are termed hijackers. They rely upon their superior strength or size to allow them to hijack food because other animals cannot effectively object. (e.g. A typical Terran hijacker is the lion in a bad mood.)
Scavengers which establish their claim to food by frighting or threatening other animals are termed intimidators. Their standard procedure is to approach a kill, and force other animals away by appearing to be a threat. (e.g. A typical Terran intimidator is the coyote.)
Scavengers which act constantly on all available food are termed reducers. They eat the remains of food after other scavengers are finished with it, consuming bone and other leavings. These are usually known as Saprotrophs or Detrivores. (e.g. Terran reducers are bacteria, and to some extent vermin. )
History & Background (Dossier)
Creatures (lifeforms) possess a vast variety of characteristics by which they can be sorted and grouped. The science of systematically and methodically sorting and organizing lifeforms is called Biological Taxonomy.
One of the most common ways of sorting creatures is by stages of evolutionary development and commonality. These are commonly classified by groupings based upon the Terran Latin and Greek languages: genus, species, kingdom, domain, etc.
Another method is by consumptive or trophic categories, in other words, grouped by what a creature consumes or eats. The science of consumption and biological classification is called Trophics.
Yet another method is by DNA or the basic genetic substance substance of an organism. The science of studying the fundamental deep characteristics of a creature is called Genetics of which there are many branches including Phylogenetics.
After millennia of development, modern creature taxonomy uses a hybrid system combining Terran, Vilani, and other methods into a combined system that includes many of the best and worst features of each of the scientific traditions and classification systems.
= Terran Biological Classification Systems
No information yet available.
Vilani Biological Classification Systems
No information yet available.
Modern Biological Classification Systems
No information yet available.
References & Contributors (Sources)
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- Classic Traveller Book 3 Worlds and Adventures
- Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science