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Animal classification: Misc



Up to date as of February 05, 2010

From Traveller Wiki - Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far future

Animals are classified based upon dietary preferences.



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. For example, the anteater and the whale eat effectively unresisting animals (ants and krill) and are hereby classes as herbivores. Herbivores are of three 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, filter 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. 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. 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 doe not devote full time to eating are termed intermittents. 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. Typical Terran intermittents are the chipmunk and the elephant.


Animals which eat food without regard to its resistance are termed omnivores. The bear, which will eat fruits and berries as readily as it will hunt for animals, is an omnivore. Omnivores are of three types:


Animals which display a greater tendency toward herbivorous behavior are termed gatherers. In most respects they are similar to Intermittents. 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. Typical Terran hunters are baboons and Humans.


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. Typical of Terran eaters is the army ant (when an entire swarm is considered to be one organism).


Animals which prey on other animals by attacking them and killing them in the face of resistance are classed as carnivores. 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. Typical chasers are wolves.


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. Typical Terran pouncers are cats.


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. A typical Terran trapper is the spider. Less typical is the ant lion.


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. Typical Terran sirens are the angler fish (its mouth is the trap) and the venus fly trap.


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. A typical Terran killer is the shark.


Animals which share or steal the prey of others, or take the remains of kills, are classed as scavengers. Scavengers are of the following types:


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. 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. A typical Terran intimidator is the coyote.


Scavengers which take dead meat as it becomes available, often waiting patiently for all other threats to disperse before beginning, are termed carrion-eaters. Most typical of the Terran carrion eaters is the buzzard.


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. Terran reducers are bacteria, and to come extent vermin. These are usually known as Saprotrophs.


Autotroph produces it's own food, building more complex compounds from and 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.


Phototroph obtain their energy from light, usually sunlight. The typical phototrophs are plants.


Chemotroph obtain their energy from chemical reactions in the environment around them, usually from inorganic compounds. Terran examples include bacteria around hydrothermal vents and cold seeps on the sea floor.

Radiosynthetic autotrophs

These are autotrophic organisms which use the energy of radioactive decay to power their chemical processes.

Plasmosythetic autotrophs

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.


Animals which consume energy directly, rather than converting portions of consumed plants or animals into usable energy are termed Ergivores.


Ergivores which borrow energy from another source are parasite ergivores. There are no Terran parasite ergivores, but the best know example is the Virus.

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises and by permission of the author.
Book 3

This article uses material from the "Animal classification" article on the Traveller wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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