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Picky People Eater

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The Brute of the bunch isn't up for some Brain Food.

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver, with some fava beans and a big Amarone."
Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs

Humans, like most living things, are composed of many different organs and tissue types. Some people-eating monsters out there will not find all of those parts appetizing enough to eat.

A monster can be made more horrifying if instead of simply eating people, it eats only certain parts of people. The vampire is the best known example of this type of monster with its interest in blood, but, for every organ or tissue type composing the human body, there will be some critter that finds it a delicacy. This makes some amount of sense, since humans themselves often favour certain parts of their livestock as food, instead of just eating the whole hog.

The horror quotient can really be ramped up if the part the monster is interested in can be extracted without immediately killing the victim. The victim can then suffer a slow, screaming death in front of their companions and the audience as the monster painfully extracts its chosen food. Also a partially consumed corpse can be stumbled over announcing to the audience and the characters that something is rotten in Denmark. If someone is telling a Ghost Story about one of these brutes, they'll often make it a Scarily Specific Story and have them target people in a group the listener belongs to.

I'm a Humanitarian is the supertrope if feeder and victim are both human. If they're not, then see To Serve Man for human-eaters, or Monstrous Cannibalism for non-humans eating fellow non-humans. Brain Food is a subtrope, as is vampirism (blood drinking) in most cases. Those who are unfit for eating are usually Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth. Only distantly related to Picky Eater, which is rejecting normal foods. This can overlap with Fantastic Diet Requirement if the monster is driven by biological or magical needs instead of simple dietary preferences.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Sosuke Hinojiki eats Life Energy and has some particular wants aside from devouring as much as possible. He says it tastes better when he makes his victims suffer beforehand, and calls Shirogane's "too strong to be a proper ingredient". Sosuke is even known as the "Gourmet Jinyo".
  • Claymore: The Youma and Awakened Beings prefer to eat entrails.
  • Bleach: The more spiritual power a person has, the more tasty they are to hollows. Aside from that, most hollows are indiscriminate about who they eat since they have little control over their compulsion to eat people and so act mostly like animals. But some of the more depraved hollows do have specific kinds of people that they prefer to eat, making them more like serial killers. One example was Grand Fisher, who preferred to eat children in the manga, or women in the anime.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, kelpies eat all of the body except the liver. Senshi is affronted that Anne, a kelpie he befriended who later tried to eat him, would have wasted one of the most nutritious parts of him.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • The Slasher is the only demon in the series who shows preference towards tasting only certain types blood. He comments about how certain types of blood aren't tasty to him, not elaborating if he has preference towards Marecchi blood only or not.
    • Doma likes to eat women for he finds them to be more nutritious.
    • Akaza only eats men; his warrior code is against preying on women.
  • Hunter ◊ Hunter: The Chimera Ant King prefers the brains of Nen-users. To make things worse, he absorbs his victims' Nen to make his own aura even stronger.
  • In Inuyasha, while demons tend to feed on people, many of them have specific preferences, including a Mantis monster that'll feed on innards, Juromaru (one of Naraku's creations), who is fond of livers and a giant, skinned Salamander demoness who needs to eat the skins of male people or demons in order to regain her form. There's also the Zushi Rat, who leaves the flesh to his countless rat children and takes the bones for himself.
  • Jōjū Senjin!! Mushibugyō: the Mushibito (Bugman) Kikyou, upon becoming a gorgeous butterfly-woman, started becoming more picky in tastes, expressing her desire to only eat humans she finds cute and good-looking: old, ugly or fat preys are discarded and dropped in the fungus garden of her anthill, where they slowly become victm of the local Festering Fungus and die a horrible death.
  • Mermaid Saga: Natsume Came Back Wrong after being brought back from the dead using a mermaid's liver. As a result, she now exclusively eats livers, be it those of animals or humans.
  • Mushishi: The mushi are often fond of eating strange things. People can have their eyes, memories, dreams, "life force" and so on consumed. One particularly strange example involves a mushi that can take a recently dead human corpse, eat the "lifespan" of that corpse and revert it into an embryonic form that can be implanted into a pregnant woman. (Of course, most of these examples aren't nearly as squicky as the usual examples of this trope, and some people are even able to benefit, at least temporarily, from the mushi taking over and/or consuming some part of their body.)
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Shuu Tsukiyama is so picky about his victims that he earns the alias The Gourmet. Unlike other Ghouls, he primarily focuses on victims with some unique or exceptional trait (a marathon runner's thighs, or beautiful sepia-toned eyes) and tends to only take those excellent parts. He considers consuming the finest, rarest ingredients to be a higher calling and wraps up all the brutality in a veneer of high-class dining.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman foe Cornelius Stirk operates under the delusion that he needs the nutrients and hormones from people's hearts in order to stay alive, and these are best prepared with norepinephrine by inducing fear in the victim prior to death. In other words, he scares people, then kills them and eats their hearts. You can probably guess what era of comics decided they needed a Darker and Edgier people-eating version of the Scarecrow.
  • In Grendel, Tujiro is an Asian vampire who consumes eyeballs as well as blood.
  • In Lucifer there is a monster that fed on humans. A demon offers it a human that she has befriended. It turns out that the monster feeds on corruption and the only example of that in the man is cancer, which it extracts harmlessly.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Venom: In the The Dark Age of Comic Books, Venom was given the trait that he needed to regularly consume dopamines, meaning he could either become a huge chocoholic or else gorge himself on human brains.
    • X-Men: Emplate feeds on mutant bone marrow.
  • The Sandman (1989): The Corinthian likes to eat the eyes of his victims — with the little mouths that he has in place of his own eyes. In doing so, he is able to see the last thing they saw before they died.
  • Top 10: The Libra Killer feeds on human pineal glands.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Arrow: Rebirth: The Huntsman is a cannibalistic Serial Killer and Psycho for Hire. While his targets are always women, he prefers the taste of physically fit ones. He even outright tells Felicity that he finds killing her to be "distatesful", as she isn't fit enough. Also, his favorite piece is the drumstick.
  • In Lost in Camelot, a Lost Girl/Merlin crossover, Kilgharrah contemplates eating Kenzi because her attitude annoys him when she comes to talk to him on her own, but decides against it because she is so thin that he would be picking bits of her out of his teeth for ages afterwards.

  • Autoshop Of Horrors is about a psychotic who, inspired by literature about the ancient Aztecs, begins killing people so that he can eat their eyes, convinced that doing so would eventually imbue him with precognition.
  • Babysitter Wanted (2008): Sam will only eat the flesh of innocent young women (and prefers the latissimus dorsi).
  • Deep Rising had a creature interested only in human bodily fluids. It left its victims as a pile of bone and digested guts.
  • Fiend Without a Face: The title critters puncture people's skulls and slurp out their brains and spinal cords "like an egg," leaving behind the empty-headed corpses.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army: The "tooth fairies" eat the whole person, but go for the teeth first.
  • Island of Terror had the bone-eating Silicates. They used their tentacles to inject a bone-dissolving enzyme into a victim, then suck the liquefied skeleton out, leaving behind misshapen, boneless bodies.
  • Jeepers Creepers: The Creeper's modus operandi is to frighten his victims, causing them to release pheromones which he sniffs to detect whether or not they have the... pieces he wants (or needs to replace lost bits). He the proceeds to remove body parts from his chosen victims, consuming the smaller parts like eyes. Whether or not the victim is still alive at the time of "extraction" doesn't seem to matter to the Creeper.
  • Meat The Jones: Instead of a rural white family, the Cannibal Clan is an urban black one that only eats white people, because along with being crazy they are also racist (though, amusingly, not to the point of being unwilling to sell their meals to the Caucasian members of the underground cannibal network that they are apart of).
  • The Mummy (1999): Imhotep is probably one of the pickiest people eaters around. He takes body parts only from the people who have already stolen his.
  • La Peau Blanche: The succubus-like vampires prefer to feed on black people, because apparently more melanin = tastier.
  • The Return of the Living Dead is the Trope Maker for the idea of Zombies craving only Braaaaaainnnnssss...
  • What We Do in the Shadows: Vladislav the vampire, who isn't particularly picky himself, discusses some vampires' preference for virgin victims:
    "If you're going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you know no one had fucked it."

  • What do cannibals call <insert Acceptable Targets here>? "Junk food".
  • What did the cannibal eat when he was on a diet? Children.
  • What does a vegetarian cannibal eat? PVS cases.
  • A battleship is sunk, killing the vast majority of the crew. The only survivors are three sailors and their captain, who, seeing the chances of his charges' survival drop rapidly after days of drifting aimlessly and running out of rations, decides to shoot himself so that his men may eat his body and survive. When the captain stands up and places a pistol to his temple, a young seaman stops him from pulling the trigger, saying "Oh captain, please don't shoot yourself in the head." The captain states "I have to, son- for the good of my crew." The seaman replies "But you don't understand- brains are my favorite dish!"
  • One Feghoot concerns a man named Steve searching for his friend Bob, who went to Darkest Africa to market a soda called Fresca. As he travels through Africa, Steve encounters all manner of locals, missionaries, explorers, etc., drinking Fresca with any food they gather or catch. They all learned from Bob that "[whatever they're eating] tastes good with Fresca". Eventually, Steve runs across a Cannibal Tribe who ate Bob after buying a bunch of Fresca from him. As the leader explains, "Bob tastes good with Fresca." Horrified, Steve inquires about what exactly the cannibals ate from Bob's body: "You mean you ate his eyes? His legs? His heart?" And so on. The leader explains that yes, all those body parts taste good with Fresca too. Finally:
    Steve: Uh...wait a minute. Wait one minute. You donít mean to tell me you — you ate his — you know, his, uh, thing?
    Leader: Yes.
    Steve: ...You ate his thing with Fresca?
    Leader: No.
    Steve: Huh? But I thought...
    Leader: Things go better with Coke. (Note: for younger readers, that was an advertising jingle for Coca-Cola in the 1960s.)
  • Why don't cannibals eat clowns? Because they taste funny.

  • The BFG: Some giants like specific kinds of human meat. Only the Bloodbottler explicitly prefers a specific body part (take a wild guess what it is), but some other giants have names that likely indicate their favorite body parts to eat (Bonecruncher, Gizzardgulper) or their favorite types of people to eat (Manhugger, Maidmasher, Childchewer). The Bonecruncher is also considered a picky eater because he likes Turkish people, who apparently (ha ha) taste like turkey. The giants will also go out of their way to avoid Greeks due to them tasting like grease.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: Some monstrosities have weird dietary preferences for blood, brains, marrow, etc.
  • The Deltora Quest children's books feature the Granous, large furry humanoids who prefer fingers and toes, eaten one by one as they play sadistic riddle games with their victims.
  • Discworld:
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe short story "She Won't Be Home", the Festulasions kidnap humans and harvest their toes as party snacks. Festulasion toes grow back, and they're horrified when they finally realise human toes don't.
  • Ella Enchanted contains a scene in which the heroine is captured by a family of ogres, who argue over how to divide up her parts. (The neck is the best part, apparently.)
  • Hannibal Lecter, but only as an extension of his gourmet tendencies when it comes to all his food. For example, he'll often take delicacies such as sweetbreads, kidneys, the liver or oyster meat — a tendency which first clues Will Graham in to the notion that his suspect is a cannibal, and ultimately leads to Lecter's capture. He's also picky as to which people he'll eat.
  • Orson Scott Card's short story "Kingsmeat", collected in Maps in a Mirror. The alien king and queen would kill a person and only use a small part for their meals, so the "shepherd" convinces them to let him merely remove what they want and let the people keep living. When the people are liberated, they reward the shepherd with many gifts, and also remove those body parts he doesn't strictly need to survive (though they leave him his eyes).
  • The Relic featured a creature that could only survive by consuming a specific protein found in a certain Amazon plant and human hypothalami.
  • Santa Steps Out: The Tooth Fairy lived on teeth and bones, although she had a few other uses for the rest of the body. You really don't want to know where that dime under your pillow came from — she eats the tooth and then shits out the dime.
  • Secret of the Sixth Magic has the skyskirr subsist on bone marrow, which they can somehow drain from living creatures' limbs without necessarily killing them.
  • Ray Bradbury's short story "Skeleton" is about a man obsessed with the idea that his skeleton is ruining his life. He eventually finds a doctor willing to 'help' him with his condition. The treatment consists of surgery in which he extracts a major bone from Harris' body, one that holds all the others together. In so doing, he not only reduces Harris to a jellyfish-like state, but he provides himself with a new bone to munch on for his supper.
  • In Tales of MU, demons and their part-human descendants need to consume specific human parts which vary by the individual. Half-demon Mack drinks a pint of virgin's blood once a month while her father eats ovaries, and a more human part-demon mentions that she gets by on blonde hair.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Expanded Universe:
    • Bastion Wars: One novel shows a rebel insurgency of Chaos cultists trying to liberate their planet, and they have a tendency to cut out and eat the livers of their Imperial counterparts.
    • Night Lords: Uzas who shows a great fondness for eating geneseed, preferably from the still living flesh of loyalist marines. One could take it solely as a sign of his status as the resident Ax-Crazy, but even the hero Talos makes mention of the practice, and later eats the heart of a Blood Angel he killed in act of revenge.
  • The Weakness of Beatrice the Level Cap Holy Swordswoman: Kallikantzaros is a vampire who only feeds on the blood of Iberian Orcs (and hence will only make new vampires out of them). This is because she hates the taste of any other kind of blood. Unfortunately, at the time of the series there's only one Iberian Orc because the others were all killed, but fortunately Kallikantzaros is willing to wait until the population builds back up (Iberian Orcs can interbreed with other races and the offspring are still Iberian Orcs).
  • Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman's children's book Wicked! (no connection) featured the Slobberers, slug-like nasties that sucked the bones right out of their victims' bodies. While still alive.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • In "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco", Tezcatcatl ate only the hearts of heroes. This gave Angel a bout of low self-esteem when it didn't want his, though a couple of people pointed out that maybe it just didn't want to eat a heart that had technically been dead for over two hundred years.
    • A vampire in "Power Play" specifically requests virgin blood. Virgin Sacrifice is nothing new, and it is long established that vampires prefer human blood to animal; but this is the first vampire to be shown to have a preference for virgin blood.
    • There's a small Running Gag through the show wherein people refer to the blood Angel drinks as "O Pos(itive)". What's curious is that Angel is a Vegetarian Vampire, so it should be pig's blood rather than O Positive human blood. Taken at face value however, different blood types apparently have different flavors, leading to preferences.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Gnarls have a thing for skin.
    • There are other species mentioned as having this habit, like Small Bone Eaters and Large Bone Eaters. (Note that those names refer to the size of the bones they eat, not the creatures themselves.) For that matter, vampires themselves technically count, since they're only interested in the blood.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Eddie Mays from "Blood Hungry" eats a body part believed to contain the soul. Of course, so many religions believed that the soul existed in a body part and they were all different, so Eddie just winds harvesting a different one from each victim (liver, stomach, and heart).
    • Then we have Floyd Feylinn Ferell, who does not like to eat junkies because "they tasted funny".
  • CSI: One perpetrator has her attack dogs kill people, then converts the most blood-rich of their internal organs into a milkshake-like slurry. She suffers from porphyria, a metabolic disorder that caused insanity in her case, and was convinced that consuming such organs was the only way to self-medicate.
  • Farscape: There was the girl who ate bones. And Scorpy's girlfriend who liked to eat eyes. Especially blue ones.
  • Fringe: "Midnight" has a woman who's been turned by mad scientists into a cerebrospinal fluid-sucking vampire.
  • Sliders: Among the Kromaggs, human eyes are a delicacy. The series' first recurring Big Bad, Colonel Rickman, suffers from a degenerative nerve disease that requires him to regularly steal brain fluid and inject it into himself to survive. His victims are left in comas.
  • Smallville: In "Static", the alien Aldar tears people apart and eats their bones, leaving the rest to rot.
  • Supernatural: Monsters and pagan gods tend to be humanitarians with picky tastes. Aside from vampires, there's South American pishtacos that only eat fat, kitsune that only subsist on a single gland from the brain and Greek Goddesses of truth and moral purity that only eat tongues and livers respectively. Werewolves in this continuity are known for never leaving the heart behind when they feed.
  • The X-Files:
    • Eugene Victor Tooms from "Squeeze" and "Tooms" feeds on human livers.
    • The "fat-sucking vampire" from "2Shy" feeds on overweight women. There's a business model right there.
    • The titular monster from "Leonard Betts" replenishes himself by eating tumors.

  • Sheb Wooley: The eponymous monster in "The Purple People Eater" only eats purple people. The narrator, a person presumably of one of the various human-normal shades of brown, begs not to be eaten, which prospect the Purple People Eater denies on account of non-purple people being too tough.

  • The Each-uisge in myths of the British isles would take the form of a horse and lure children on to its back, where it would eat their insides — except for their kidneys or livers, which would float to the surface. The same is true of the Kelpie of Scotland.
  • Oriental mythology is full of these.
    • The kappa of Japanese Mythology would pull children (and sometimes adults) underwater and suck their intestines (or blood, or liver, or ki/lifeforce — the mythology is inconsistent on just what they ate) out through their anus. (This part is pretty consistent.) You could only protect yourself from this fate by carving your name on an even tastier treat and tossing it into the water. The one food they preferred over human innards? Cucumbers. Well, that or trick the kappa into bowing, causing the water to be poured out of its head and rendering it powerless. Obviously, if the kappa is in a body of water at the time, this technique is useless.
    • The kumiho of Korean Mythology (a form of nine-tailed shape-shifting fox spirit with a serious mean streak in later myths) is said in various myths to eat people, but only one particular organ. In some, it's the heart, while in others, it's the liver, as that's where your Life Energy is supposed to reside.
  • Aztec Mythology: The ahuizotl eats human flesh, but was said to be especially fond of teeth, eyes, toenails, and fingernails.
  • It's common among cannibalistic peoples not only to be picky about what parts to eat, but about which people to eat. As eating is often held to absorb someone's moral characteristics as well as their physical ones, they go out of their way to be sure to eat a Worthy Opponent. In other words, if you ever get eaten, just consider it a compliment!
  • Brazilian Folklore:
    • The Boitatá is a ghostly fire snake who has a preferance for eating the eyes of its preys.
    • The Papa-Figo/Liver-Eater is a rich and decrepit man who, as the name says, eats only the liver (some versions mention the blood as well) of children in an attempt to mitigate his disease.
    • The Capelobo is a anteater-headed humanoid monster who uses his claws to cut open the skull of dogs, cats and humans so he can use his muzzle to eat their brains up.
    • The Ipupiaras from Tupi-Guarani Mythology ate the fingers, noses, eyes and gentials of their victims.
  • Classical Mythology: Prometheus' Fate Worse than Death was to be chained to a rock and have an eagle to return every day to eat his liver, which would then regenerate overnight.
  • The Indus worm, a creature purported to live along the banks of the Indus River in Greek, Roman and medieval European literature and bestiaries, is an ambush predator that feeds on large beasts and on humans, dragging them beneath the water and devouring every part of them except for their intestines, which it leaves to float back to the surface.
  • The Malaysian Penanggalan is said to only feed on the blood of pregnant women and/or children, or on the heart/blood/flesh of unborn babies, depending on which region you hear it from. The Manananggal is often similarly picky in its choice of victims, with its traditional favorite food being the blood of pregnant women and the hearts of unborn babies.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: The roleplaying game Mechwarrior features trachazoi, horrible little bastards about the size of a terrier that live in trees and leap onto the heads of victims, smashing open their skulls, and eating their brains. And yes, this includes humans. They are so lethal that their attacks do as much damage as a sniper rifle headshot (each turn!), and with similar results in terms of gore.
  • Deadlands features plenty of monsters that prefer specific bits and pieces of people. One character even invokes this trope in the After the End sequel when talking about intelligence gathering. It boils down to "if a monster's been eating spleens, you better know the whole situation, or you'll be minus one spleen."
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The game is stuffed full of these such as the bonedrinkers which, funnily enough, drink their enemies' bones. Inverted with the Chuul, which eats everything except for the brain, which is toxic to them. Mind Flayers, who play this straight, keep them as pets to throw brainless corpses to.
    • One monster with a very specific — and very revolting — diet is the avolakia, a magical abomination resembling an unholy cross between a lamprey, insect, and octopus in its true form. It can eat the flesh of living or dead beings, but it's disgusted by both; it much prefers the flesh of undead beings. All avolakia are skilled in necromancy, so they can raise hordes of zombies to serve as both bodyguards and walking larders at the same time.
    • Besides just eating brains and nothing else, illithids are extremely discriminating about their food. Firstly, they prefer complex minds, packed with knowledge and experiences and as intelligent and emotionally rich as can be achieved — typical peasants may just make do, experienced leaders and adventurers are relished, a sage or wizard is a rare treat. Secondly, they also have strong opinions about which species they most enjoy eating. Troglodytes are repulsive, and only eaten to avoid starvation. Goblinoids, orcs and ogres are acceptable, with surface-dwelling ones being preferred to their subterranean cousins, but are never a first choice. Humans, elves, drow, duergar and dwarves, being generally more intelligent and emotionally developed, are favored staples of the illithid diet. The long-lived, elusive and highly emotive fey are rare delicacies. In an emergency, illithid can sustain themselves on the brains of cows, wolves, etc., but it both tastes poor and is unfilling enough that it isn't long enough before another meal is requirednote .
    • Perytons crave humanoid hearts over everything else, as female perytons need to eat them before being able to reproduce. Their first action after making a kill is to tear out the desired organ, after which they abandon the carcass and fly off. They're also fairly picky about the provenance of these hearts; they prize human ones above all others, but never eat those of elves and fairies.
    • Bonedrinkers are undead monsters that feed exclusively by liquifying the bones of their victims with a toxin in their saliva and then consuming the resulting slurry.
    • Ravenloft: Tiyet, the Darklord of Sebua, is compelled to kill victims to eat their hearts (preferably fresh and still beating); this is very much an addiction connected to the curse that earned her the position of a Darklord. This addiction is also connected to the one way she can be killed; she can regenerate From a Single Cell if defeated, but she can be slain permanently by tricking her into eating her own heart, which is still in the temple where the mummification ritual was done that transformed her into an undead. If it were ever offered to her, it would start to beat, and she would be unable to resist it, even though it would mean her doom.
    • In 5th Edition, the barghest gets changed into this. They've always wanted to consume humanoids, but in 5E lore they were created by the yugoloth lords after the goblin god Maglubiyet broke his contracts with them. Barghests are sent to the Prime Material Plane in order to kill and consume thirteen goblins, one for each contract that was broken. However, their status after they complete their task is based on the power of the goblins they consume, so they target only the strongest, most cunning goblins they can find.
  • Exalted: Forest mimics are voracious predators with a strong taste for human flesh, but have a marked preference for old, tough meat; they eagerly devour the elderly, but won't so much as touch young children.
  • RuneQuest: Trolls are habitual cannibals and sapient-eaters, and are highly opinionated about the quality of the other races' flesh. Elves are the best and most flavorful, and highly valued as food. Dwarves aren't as tasty, but are also greatly sought after because a quirk of the two species' biochemistries makes dwarf meat pleasantly intoxicating. Humans are fine if unremarkable, but young ones are preferred. Dragonewts have an unpleasant ashy taste, but are still sufficient as food when available.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Razorwings live almost exclusively off of bone, which they get by flaying off the entirety of their prey's musculature and organs in order to get at its skeleton.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Vampire: The Masquerade:
      • This is the clan Flaw of the Ventrue. Being of such refined taste and upbringing, they can only partake of blood that comes from a certain kind of subject. This varies from Ventrue to Ventrue, with such "tastes" including virgins, gay men, priests, etc.
      • The 20th anniversary Dark Ages book for Masquerade introduces the Impundulu, an African bloodline who can only feed off their founder's descendants, the Bomkazi family of witches (who fortunately have the ability to heal). Trouble is, by the time of the game's setting in the 13th century, the Impundulu are running into problems, as the Bomkazi are becoming either so inbred they're developing problems, or so distant their blood can't sustain the Impundulu.
    • Vampire: The Requiem: This quality leaves the Ventrue (in favor of a whole different Flaw), but shows up in some of the bloodlines; the Mekhet clan's Morbus (can only gain sustenance from those with a disease) and Brothers of Ypres (can only gain sustenance from blood that is tainted; they prefer poisons, but disease, drugs, and radiation all count), and the Daeva clan's Anvari (gain less nourishment if they drink from people who aren't high on narcotics — the blood must be tainted with opiates to have its full effectiveness for them).
      • In general, vampires become increasingly picky eaters as they age, starting out being able to drink blood from anything, then only human or vampire blood, and then only vampire or monster blood.
      • There are several twisted "relatives" of the vampire community who particularly embody this trope. The Formosae only feed upon the fat and/or ugly; this is because they actually make their victims thinner and more beautiful (if they survive the feeding), and so they can get people to willingly feed themselves to them. Mnemovores eat memories in an attempt to fill out the mental fugue that clouds their own minds. Baykosh is a unique ghost who only eats the hearts of warriors — and that's just a bit of symbolism to let him eat their lifespan.
    • In all of these cases, there's a bit of a loophole — the requirements don't apply to blood from other vampires. However, drinking vampire blood is full of its own problems.

    Video Games 
  • Darkstalkers: Dimitri Maximoff will only drink the blood of beautiful women. Fortunately for him, he has a power named Midnight Bliss, which makes women beautiful and turns men into women.
  • RuneScape: The flavor of human blood to a vampyre is affected by what emotion the human it came from is feeling. The in-game book "A Taste of Hope" reveals how each of the vampyre clans harvests blood to get their prefered flavor. This is a clue for solving puzzles in Castle Drakan involving locks that can only be opened by the correct flavor of blood by assigning the person feeling the correct emotion to give blood to each lock.
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong: Ghouls have to eat raw metahuman flesh to survive. For most ghouls, that means devouring flesh off the bone, either from a pilfered rotting corpse or a recent kill. For Gaichu, a remarkably sane ghoul, that means expertly prepared sashimi, brined to bring out the collagen and lightly seasoned to give it some taste without leaving Gaichu sick. As the player character may find out the hard way, it looks, smells, and tastes quite appetizing if you don't actually know what it is.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole: Shub-Niggurath subsists on a diet of dark meat and cannot stomach white meat, meaning that it only eats Black people and white people will make it violently ill. Its boss fight consists of you forcing its worshippers (the South Park Police Department) into its feeding range. Inversely however, if it eats Tolkien or a Black New Kid, it gains back its health.
  • Xenosaga: Realian nerve tissue contains compounds that act as an addictive drug.

  • Sluggy Freelance: Subverted with the zombies, who don't have a preference for any parts. Double Subverted by Jane, who figured out that her own parts would be maintained by the parts she eats, and selected Brain Food. Triple Subverted by the zombies she misled while they still had the intelligence to catch on to it, so she could keep them dumb and controllable.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot: Dr. Neugog consumes people's intelligence and as a result prefers to feed on brilliant minds such as doctors and scientists and passes up less intelligent meals, however he does make an exception for Donovan because in his own words "I don't like you".
  • Futurama: In "Spanish Fry", it's revealed that human noses are in high demand among aliens as an edible aphrodisiac. Once it's explained to him that "human horn" is not actually a part of Earthling males' genitalia, Lrr immediately adjusts his plans for a romantic dinner with his wife, intending to consume Fry's... "lower horn" instead.
  • Men in Black: In the opening of "The Inanimate Syndrome", Kay and Jay save a girl being preyed upon by a shapeshifting alien who eats hearts.
  • In The Smurfs (1981), a monster called the Creepodile lives in the Pussywillow Hollow swamp, usually in a deep slumber; if it ever wakes up, it will not return to sleep until it finds and devours a king. Naturally, King Bullrush of the wartmongers — whose kingdom is the swamp — is terrified of what might happen if it wakes, and when Vanity actually does so, Bullrush makes him king so that it will go after Vanity instead. (The Smurflings are able to save Vanity by fooling the beast into eating a gourd dressed up in royal clothes.)
  • Stroker and Hoop: One episode has the eponymous characters' organs stolen by a "friendly" cannibalistic cult that only eats the non-vital organs of its victims.

    Real Life 
  • A lot of parasites are very picky eaters; which is to say they have evolved into highly specialized niches.
    • Eyebrow mites only eat the sebum (oils) secreted from sebaceous pores around our eyebrows.
    • Dust mites only eat flakes of dead skin.
    • Some liver flukes can only survive in the bile duct, or the gall bladder.
    • The infamous tongue-eating isopod invades the mouths of a fish and replaces their tongue.
    • Most viruses can only enter specific cell types:
      • Many Herpes-type virues only attack nerve cells.
      • Some cancer causing Human papiloma viruses can only attack skin cells at the boundry of external skin and intestinal tract (i.e. rectum and throat).
      • HIV only attacks cells expressing the ccr5 or cxc4 receptors (usually cd4 t-lymphocytes).
      • The reason why the Ebola virus and its relatives are so deadly is because unusually for viruses they are not picky. They can attack almost any cell in the body.
    • Toxoplasmosis is capable of infecting many different kinds of hosts, but it prefers to infect cats because cats are the only host in which exist the right conditions for it to reproduce sexually, otherwise it can only reproduce asexually, so it modifies the behavior of its hosts to make them more likely to spread the infection to cats.
  • While most carnivores will more than freely pick a corpse clean, predators that have to compete with something bigger that will run them off from a kill (IE, a Cheetah avoiding lions or hyenas, wolves avoiding a bear or a larger pack) go directly for the liver and other organs where carbs and nutrients are richest.
  • In Lake Tanganyika, a species of cichlid fish specializes in attacking other fish by biting off and eating their prey's scales. Individuals of these scale-eating fish will have their long jaws twisted to permit them to attack either the left side or the right side of their victims. One can easily tell whether the right-side attacking population or the left-side attacking population is greater by seeing which direction other fish flee towards when spooked.
    • Another species of cichlid, Dimidiochromis compressiceps, goes by the common English name of "Malawi eyebiter". Specimens are regularly found with lots of fish eyes in their stomachs, although it's not clear if they actively prefer eating just eyeballs, or if they merely bite at smaller fishes' eyes as an opening attack that doesn't always suffice to ensure a kill.
  • In Siberia, the Blakiston's Fish Owl, as with other fishing owls, preys on fish it captures in rivers and streams. The Pel's preferentially starts with the head of the fish, and in times of plenty, an owl may eat only the head and abandon the rest of its meal.
  • During the salmon season, a grizzly bear, depending on how well it's fed up to that point in the year, may only go for certain parts of the fish they catch, such as brains and caviar, and leave the rest to rot (or be eaten by scavengers).
  • While a bearded vulture will eat meat if it has to, it prefers to eat bone, often digging through a corpse to get to the bones and ignoring the meat.
  • Orcas, aka killer whales, have been known to hunt and kill large sharks before squeezing out and eating their livers (and occasionally some other organs) while ignoring the rest of the body. This is because large sharks pack their livers full of fats and oils from their own meals to sustain them when migrating large distances across the ocean. This however, also makes their livers a very nutrient dense food for the hungry orcas.
  • The jumping spider Evarcha culicivora is also known as the vampire spider. Its preferred prey, besides cannibalizing each other, is mosquitoes that have recently fed on blood, ignoring all other prey, including non-fed mosquitoes, unless it is starving. When mosquitoes are not available, it feeds on flower nectar instead.
  • Cannibalistic serial killer Dorángel Vargas only preyed on fit male adults. When asked why, he explained that women and children were too "pure" to kill and eat, and that he thought that "fat people" would be too unhealthy and high in cholesterol.
  • The reason that kuru was more common among women and children in the tribes that practiced ritual cannibalism as part of funerary rites, had to do with the parts that they were eating. Men were eating mainly the skeletal muscle, while the women and children were restricted from doing so, and consumed the brain and other organs instead. (i.e. the parts more likely to be infected with the causative prion.)

Alternative Title(s): Picky Cannibal