Biology Suffixes Phagia and Phage

Macrophage Fighting Bacteria
This close up shows a macrophage cell and bacteria. Macrophages are white blood cells that engulf and digest pathogens. Science Picture Co/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

Understand suffixes Phagia and Phage that are used in biology with this helpful guide.  ​

Biology Suffix Phagia With Examples

The suffix (-phagia) refers to the act of eating or swallowing. Related suffixes include (-phage), (-phagic), and (-phagy). Here are examples:

Aerophagia (aero-phagia): the act of swallowing excessive amounts of air. This can lead to digestive system discomfort, bloating, and intestinal pain.

Allotriophagia (allo-trio-phagia): a disorder that involves the compulsion to eat non-food substances. Also known as pica, this tendency is sometimes associated with pregnancy, autism, mental retardation, and religious ceremonies.

Amylophagia (amylo-phagia): the compulsion to eat excessive amounts of starch or foods rich in carbohydrates.

Aphagia (a-phagia): the loss of the ability to swallow, typically associated with a disease. It a can also mean refusal to swallow or inability to eat.

Dysphagia (dys-phagia): difficultly in swallowing, typically associated with the disease.

Omophagia (omo-phagia): the act of eating raw meat.

Suffix Phage

Bacteriophage (bacterio-phage): a virus that infects and destroys bacteria. Also known as phages, these viruses typically only infect a specific strain of bacteria.

Macrophage (macro-phage): a large white blood cell that engulfs and destroys bacteria and other foreign substances in the body. The process by which these substances are internalized, broken down, and disposed of is known as phagocytosis.

Microphage (micro-phage): a small white blood cell known as a neutrophil that is capable of destroying bacteria and other foreign substances by phagocytosis.

Mycophage (myco-phage): an organism that feeds on fungi or a virus that infects fungi.

Prophage (pro-phage): viral, bacteriophage genes that have been inserted into the bacterial chromosome of an infected bacterial cell by genetic recombination.

Suffix Phagy in Use

Adephagy (ade-phagy): referring to gluttonous or excessive eating. Adephagia was the Greek goddess of gluttony and greed.

Coprophagy (copro-phagy): the act of eating feces. This is common among animals, especially insects.

Geophagy (geo-phagy):  the act of eating dirt or soil substances such as clay.

Monophagy (mono-phagy):  the feeding of an organism on a single type of food source. Some insects, for example, will only feed on a specific plant. (Monarch caterpillars only feed on milkweed plants.)

Oligophagy (oligo-phagy): feeding on a small number of specific food sources.

Oophagy (Oo-phagy): behavior exhibited by embryos of feeding on female gametes (eggs). This occurs in some sharks, fish, amphibians, and snakes.