Types of Plant-Eating Insects

Most species of insects feed on plant matter.
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Different types of insects eat different types of food. Some insects eat other insects, some feed on blood (such as the tick or common mosquito), some eat nectar from plants and some insects (like the common cockroach) will even eat toothpaste and human food that is not sealed up. Most insects, however, are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. Many different types of insects feed on plants.


Grasshoppers eat leaves and grasses but also feed on crops.
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Grasshoppers live in grassy fields and meadows where vegetation is abundant. Grasshoppers, though only about 1 to 7 cm in length, can eat up to 16 times their own weight in only one day. Grasshoppers mostly feed on leaves and grasses but are often thought of as pests by farmers because they eat cereal crops.


Caterpillars eat the leaves of plants and trees in their area.
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Before a butterfly grows wings, it is a caterpillar. Caterpillars feed on the leaves of flowering trees and plants in their habitat. Different species of caterpillars eat different types of plants, depending on what types of vegetation are available in their habitat. Some species of caterpillar will feed on only a single type of plant while others will eat any plant matter they can find. Most caterpillar species lay their eggs on a plant, and the caterpillar begins feeding on this plant the moment it hatches.

Japanese Beetle

The Japanese beetle is known for being a voracious eater because it is an invasive pest in the U.S., meaning it is not natural to the environment and eats many types of vegetation in abundance. Japanese beetles eat fruits, foliage and leaves of more than 300 different species of plants. Japanese beetles eat in a manner known as "skeletonizing," meaning that the insect consumes the plant tissue between the plant's veins. Japanese beetles often feed in groups of about 12 beetles at a time and can consume entire fruits in a matter of minutes.


Often referred to as "plant ticks" because they suck the juices out of plants, aphids often eat in large groups, or clusters, and consume plant leaves, stems and roots. Aphids are considered pests because they feed on vegetables, fruit trees and crops. Some species feed on only one type of plant while other species feed on any vegetation in their habitat.

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