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See also: détritivore



Earthworms, such as this Lumbricus terrestris, are detritivores

From German Detritivore, from Latin dētrītus (the act of rubbing away) (from dēterō (to rub away, to rub off, to wear out), from dē- (away; down) + terō (to rub; to wear away, to wear out), from Proto-Indo-European *terh₁- (to rub, to rub by twisting; to twist, to turn)) + Latin vorāre (from vorō (to devour, to eat greedily; to swallow up), from Proto-Indo-European *gʷerh₃- (to devour)).



detritivore (plural detritivores)

  1. (ecology) An organism that feeds on detritus; a detrivore, a saprophage.
    • 1978, J. P. La Fage; W. L. Nutting, “Nutrient Dynamics of Termites”, in M. V. Brian, editor, Production Ecology of Ants and Termites (International Biological Programme; 13), Cambridge; New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 165:
      Termites are herbivores and detritivores variously involved in the comminution and decomposition of vegetable matter, through most of the warm temperate and tropical zones.
    • 1992, Steven Y. Newell, “Estimating Fungal Biomass and Productivity in Decomposing Litter”, in George C. Carroll and Donald T. Wicklow, editors, The Fungal Community: Its Organization and Role in the Ecosystem (Mycology; 9), 2nd edition, New York, N.Y.: Marcel Dekker, →ISBN, page 521:
      If one has sound data for microbial biomass dynamics in decaying litter, along with identities of the decomposer fungi, then one can make useful projections and hypotheses regarding nutrient flow, environmental controls on decay rates, and potential detritivore production founded upon basic knowledge of the properties of fungal species and their interactions with other microbes and animals [].
    • 1992, S. J. Ormerod, “Effects on Aquatic Ecosystems”, in M[iroslav] Radojević and R[oy] M. Harrison, editor, Atmospheric Acidity: Sources, Consequences and Abatement (Environmental Management Series), Barking, Essex: Elsevier Science, →ISBN, page 382:
      Fish are represented at several trophic levels in aquatic systems, from detritivore and herbivore to carnivore.
    • 2014, Louis Legendre, “Pelagic Marine Ecosystems and Biogeochemical Cycles”, in André Monaco and Patrick Prouzet, editors, Ecosystem Sustainability and Global Change (Seas and Oceans), London: ISTE Ltd.; Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 46:
      Others are detritivores (i.e. they feed off organic detritus), such as some pteropods.


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  1. feminine plural of detritivoro