Detritivores, also known as detritophages, detritus feeders, or detritus eaters, are heterotrophs that obtain nutrients by consuming detritus (decomposing plant and animal parts as well as feces). There are many kinds of invertebrates, vertebrates and plants that carry out coprophagy. By doing so, all these detritivores contribute to decomposition and the nutrient cycles. They should be distinguished from other decomposers, such as many species of bacteria, fungi and protists, which are unable to ingest discrete lumps of matter, but instead live by absorbing and metabolizing on a molecular scale (saprotrophic nutrition). However, the terms detritivore and decomposer are often used interchangeably. Detritivores are an important aspect of many ecosystems. They can live on any soil with an organic component, including marine ecosystems, where they are termed interchangeably with bottom feeders. Typical detritivorous animals include millipedes, woodlice, dung flies, slugs, many terrestrial worms, sea stars, sea cucumbers, fiddler crabs, and some...
Source: Wikimedia Commons
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