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detritivore

[dih-trahy-tuh-vawr, -vohr] /dɪˈtraɪ təˌvɔr, -ˌvoʊr/
noun, Ecology
1.
an organism that uses organic waste as a food source, as certain insects.
Origin
1975-1980
1975-80; detrit(us) + -i- + -vore
Related forms
detritivorous
[de-truh-tiv-er-uh s] /ˌdɛ trəˈtɪv ər əs/ (Show IPA),
detrivorous
[dih-triv-er-uh s] /dɪˈtrɪv ər əs/ (Show IPA),
adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for detritivores
  • detritivores are organisms that eat nonliving plant and animal remains.
  • In temperate waters, specialized herbivores and detritivores are uncommon.
  • Most obviously, increased plant production can mean increased food for herbivores and detritivores.
detritivores in Science
detritivore
  (dĭ-trī'tə-vôr')   
An organism that feeds on and breaks down dead plant or animal matter, returning essential nutrients to the ecosystem. Detritivores include microorganisms such as bacteria and protists as well as larger organisms such as fungi, insects, worms, and isopod crustaceans. In a food chain, detritivores are primary consumers. Compare carnivore, herbivore.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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