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/an/ - Animals & Nature

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How nutritious is wood and why do so few animals eat it?
Because they can't digest it?
Some can, and with it being literally fucking everywhere it's a wonder why more can't.
ever heard of a beaver, hombre?
you just answered your own question, dummy
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>why do so few animals eat it?
because you're literally blind to the thousands of species of animals that eat it.

because they're not cute and furry.

it's a common problem here. People are unaware of 99.9% of animal species and this board doesn't do anything to help with that.
it's really hard on the teeth
Ask your mom, she's been eating my wood for years now, that filthy animal.
Wood and other plant material is VERY nutritious, the issue is that so few organisms are capable of breaking down the cellulose that’s containing all that nutrition. Even those animals that can extract some need to feed on large quantities because even they can’t break it down very efficiently.

On the other hand, some organisms have evolved the ability to effeciently break down cellulose. These are the saprobic organisms that keep dead plant material from pulling up. They’re almost entirely microbes, a bunch of different bacteria and fungi.

There’s hardly a resource available that life hasn’t taken advantage of. It all just comes down to evolution, some evolved to access certain resources, even the most difficult ones.
"Why can so few animals eat wood?" Is a flawed question to begin with, as evolution consists of random mistakes. if they are beneficial or neutral they might stay. There's no deity that thinks "Hmm, there's all this wood out there, I should totally evolve to digest it!" It just happens if it happens, like it did in some beetles, fungi etc.
Not very.
Because it's not very nutritious.
Beavers don't actually eat wood anon, they eat leaves and the underbark.
This. Big brain post anon
>the underbark
Isn't that were the dark dogs live?
Hardly nutritious, very difficult to digest.And most of them are arthropods anyway so that's why there are thousands like >>2884673 points out (but considering there are like millions of insects species ALONE, that proportion of wood eating species becomes almost insignificant).
To illustrate my point one of the reaons Carboniferous trees were normally fossilized and eventually turned into coal was that there wasn't that many lifeforms adapted to degrade lignine.Not even microorganism iirc.
If there's some massive source of nutrients somewhere you bet your butt that animals will evolve to eat it.
It yields very little nutrition, so animals that eat it wouyld need to eat tons of it compared to their body weight just to stay alive
That's why the animals that eat it tend to be small insects, like termites and wood beetles.

Think pandas, Bamboo has little nutrition, so pandas need to eat like 30 pounds of it a day. Wood has even less nutrition than bamboo, and it's harder to chew and digest, so the sheer amount of wood any large bodied animal would need to eat to survive wouldn't be worth the effort.
>it's a common problem here. People are unaware of 99.9% of animal species and this board doesn't do anything to help with that.
you just did
conrgatulations you found out how a community works
This makes a lot of sense. Why would organisms evolve to have to bring down trees to eat them, when those organisms could evolve to eat the dead trees that are already down and have lost all their faculties of resistance?
>Think pandas, Bamboo has little nutrition, so pandas need to eat like 30 pounds of it a day. Wood has even less nutrition than bamboo, and it's harder to chew and digest, so the sheer amount of wood any large bodied animal would need to eat to survive wouldn't be worth the effort.
Bad example, pandas are really bad at digesting bamboo.
It's extremely NOT nutritious. Neither is cellulose. It's mostly just a source of carbs if you can break it down, and not much else. But only bacteria and fungi can even digest wood, I believe (termites use gut bacteria).
Ackshually, most insects don't eat wood either.
>Wood and other plant material is VERY nutritious
If by "nutritious" you mean carbs and some minerals, then sure.
True, but all animals are. That's why animals that are "good" at digesting plant material like Ruminants have to evolve multi-chambered stomach bacteria farms and eat their food multiple times to do it.
But most wood-eaters are insects
Very few "wood-eating" insects are actually capable of eating wood. They eat fungi which grow in wood.
Termites are the only true wood-eaters from what I have read, and they rely on protists in their gut for cellulase.
>Termites are the only true wood-eaters from what I have read
which just means you're talking about something you know almost nothing about.
Go ahead and show me an insect that can produce cellulase without any microbial assistance.

Woodloving beetles all rely on fungi being present in the wood they colonize, unless they focus only on the layer of cambium.
>Go ahead and show me an insect that can produce cellulase without any microbial assistance.
so it doesn't count as eating wood if you need microorganisms to help you digest the wood?

guess what moron, all digestion requires the help of microorganisms, including your own.

are you saying that humans don't eat, or that you're just an idiot?
>ruminants don't technically eat grass because they have to ferment it with microbes.

By the way, wood eating termites primarily still rely on microbes to produce cellulases.
I don't think you understand what I said.

The vast majority of wood-eating insects do not eat wood. They eat fungi that are living in the wood, and the partially digested wood that the fungus is living in. In that case, even the organisms in their gut are incapable of digesting the wood, let alone the insect.

Termites are the only ones which actually eat fresh uncolonized wood, and are capable of digesting it as a nutrient source. This is very distinct from other wood-dwelling species.

And no, you're wrong. Animals and insects possess a humongous array of enzymes which digest their food, in the absence of microorganisms. The major sources of nutrients in an animals diet are produced via these enzymatic routes, not through the action of microorganisms in the gut. For most insects, carbon is obtained through digestion of chitin, or direct consumption of sugars through plants. Bacteria and gut fungi are not required for this. Amino acids from consumed proteins, the biggest source of nitrogen for most animals, are produced through action of protease enzymes, also produced without the help of microorganisms.

Microorganisms in the gut are essential for complete digestion of fibrous portions of the diet, the indigestible portions, as well as for producing micronutrients and certain vitamins.
They are not required for the vast majority of digestion in most animals, with some exceptions like termites or ruminants, where the biggest source of dietary carbon comes in the form of cellulose. Both organisms cannot break down cellulose on their own, so they rely on gut microbes to produce cellulases and free up their required glucose.

Before you start spewing random nonsense, I suggest doing a little bit of background research, or atleast having an understanding of what you are talking about. It is clear you don't.
Reread what I said. You are repeating me.
No insect or mammal can digest cellulose without the presence of gut microbes which do the actual digestion.
that was a fairly long denial but you're still wrong.

1. the microbes they use to digest wood are carried to the wood in their gut.
2. they don't eat fungi, they eat wood that's been broken down by fungi
3. this is still eating wood
As someone who sells mycelium to people who raise beetles, I can tell you that yes, they eat mycelium, and not wood. The cellulose is pooped out undigested while chitinases sequester carbon from the hyphae.

Ruminants and termites eat cellulose plant material, that I agree on, but I mention that they don't actually digest it, microbes in their gut do.
I even mention that termites are true "wood-eaters".

I'm really not sure what you are trying to say here.
>I'm really not sure what you are trying to say here.
I'm saying you're a retard because they physically consume the wood and gain nutrients from it via the digestive processes of fungi they introduced in the first place.

Either this is eating wood or humans do not eat, because we do exactly the same sorts things.

in fact if they don't eat wood because the fungi do the actual digestion then no animal eats anything but bacteria and fungi. Which essentially nobody agrees with you on.
You are incorrect, and obviously not reading what I am saying. Most wood-dwelling beetles do not introduce the fungi they consume, you are talking about ambrosia-beetles and species with similar symbioses. The majority feed on a wide variety of fungi that show up on long-dead wood which has large mycelial mats inside. You can feed the larvae of these beetles on mycelium alone, in the absence of any wood.
There is also a larger range of semi-symbiotic relationships where beetles that attack live trees will introduce fungal species that end up parasitizing and killing the host, which is colonized and "softened" by the fungus, making it suitable for consumption.

You cannot compare primary digestion to the secondary digestion seen in ruminants or termites. When a human eats a piece of meat, or rice, we secrete enzymes which break it down into nutrients which can cross the gut.
The majority of our food is digested this way, with enzymes we secrete. This is true for all non-ruminant mammals and insects lacking gut symbionts. We digest the vast majority of our food without the help of microorganisms.

It is only what we cannot digest that the microbes then have access to, anything we cannot break down independently is termed as fiber, which is divided into soluble and nonsoluble fiber. Both are readily consumed by gut microbes, which in return for being provided something useless to us, secrete useful compounds. These are not macronutrients though. Carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, all of the huge portions of a mammal diet, are obtained independent of any microbe.

I call this the bugguy error because he was fond of making it several times a day.

More formally I call it a false dichotomy of sets and subsets.

it follows this form:
>that's not a fruit, it's an apple
>that's not an ape, it's a human
>that's not poison, it's venom
>that's not eating wood, it's eating fungi and wood

now as you can see it's a ridiculous error of thought and any normal person will immediately spot the error even if they don't analyze the form of it. Most people won't take the time to understand the faulty thinking, they'll just look at you a litle strange and walk off in search of someone who isn't retarded to talk to.

and this is the proper response since most people understand sets and subsets around the age of 6, and aren't inclined to argue with toddlers. But be that as it may I understand you have a real cognitive deficit so I'll explain your failure of thought on the very unlikely chance that you'll begin to recognize it and one day maybe even overcome it.

eating fungus and wood is a type of wood eating. Not all wood eating consists of eating fungus and wood. However that does not mean that eating fungus and wood isn't eating wood.

I hope your day goes well.
I could add that "eating" does not necessarily imply getting nutrients from the food either.

If I tell you to eat shit and die,
and you then consume some random fetid feces, contract a fecal coliform infection and perish,
you did in fact eat shit

even if you gained no nutrition from it, 10 out of 10 people polled will agree you ate the shit.

and this is the source of your cognitive error, a basic false dichotomy you have erected between "eating" and "what I personally mean by eating."

please don't eat shit or die, you're errors of thought aren't in any way worth that.
Conversely, the fact that an organism can survive without eating a thing does not mean they don't eat it.

A beetle may indeed be able to survive without eating wood, but that does not imply that the beetle doesn't eat wood.

likewise humans can certainly survive without eating meat, but this does not in any way imply that humans do not in fact eat meat.
I hope this little tutorial:
on your errors of thought has been informative for you.

I realize your first instinct is going to be an argument against it either based on the arbitrary definitions of words or perhaps on the inconsistent method people use to apply them, and believe me I've heard both arguments before.

but I'm not likely to respond to those because while true they're tiresome since either your usage is accepted jargon and we both know it's not or you're autistic and can't take contextual cues regarding utility of language.

neither condition interests me so please refrain. I'd be much more fascinated if you showed a flash of self-awareness and pointed out other failures in your argument to me, of which I have personally noted several. I won't hold my breath.

Please be well, and good luck with your retail fungus sales.
How is the logical construction of my comment of relevance? I am discussing the points made, not how I made them.

"Very few "wood-eating" insects are actually capable of eating wood." is related to the statement that most beetles that live in wood eat fungi, not wood.. It would be like saying a basket shark eats water, when it is actually just eating plankton suspended in the water.
In the same manner, these beetles are passing the wood unchanged, and only digesting and gaining nutrition from the fungus living in it.

At this point, it is clear you aren't even attacking the original comment I made, but are reverting to attacking the construction of it. This is avoiding the original conversation, and a poor tactic of debate, very deep into the territory of an ad hominem attack. If you'll note, you are the only one making ad hominem arguments.
Because of this, I think that the conversation has basically gone nowhere. You are free to continue to go offtopic, since my statements are biologically sound and backed up by evidence, rather than my personality or thought process.
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Your statements aren't biologically sound for the reasons I outlined.

primarily "eating" does not require gaining nutrients from the thing eaten.

the form of your error should be of interest to you since the content is banal. Your statements are biologically correct and still any biologist including myself would just laugh at your autism and walk off. Because we don't differentiate between things eaten for nutrition and those eaten incidentally.
>you are the only one making ad hominem arguments.
you have a learning disability.

this is not an ad hom, it is a fact as I'm sure you've been told before.

you're a very bright person when it comes to memorizing knowledge, but you're literally retarded in how your mind arranges it. Again, this is not an insult. Lots of people have learning disabilities and again I'm sure you've been made aware of yours before this. You can't reach your age without someone pointing out to you that your brain isn't working right.

you seem inclined to disbelieve this obvious fact and go on spouting nonsense on /an/, and that's certainly your prerogitive. But I want you to understand why people laugh at you and ignore you. Redefining words to win online arguments doesn't make you appear smart. It just makes you look retarded. Which you are, so I think we're all good.

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