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Difference Between Decomposers and Detritivores

Primary Difference

There are different types of organisms which are present on the earth surface and they perform variety of tasks which tell how they are variable from each other. There are also different classifications which are being made to make find the ways which can be helpful in making a clear statement on how these microorganisms have survived for a longer period of time and on what do they feed. Two such types of being which will be discussed in this space are known as Decomposers and Detritivores. They are similar to each other in various ways but they are not the same. Many differences among the two exist which give a clear idea how both are and what are their main characteristics. There are many ways to show the differences but looking at the definition of the two, Detritivores are known as heterotrophs which obtain their food from sources such as plants and animals but they do so by decomposing the feces of these sources. There are many types of detritivores and several animals and plants which are common source of providing food for animals are the ones who provide energy and such items to these microorganisms. Decomposers, on the other hand are the organism which break down other dead beings and while doing so obtain food and nutrition for themselves and the whole process is known as decomposition. They do not need internal digestion but carry out their processes with the help of breaking the cells of various organisms. Another way of defining the two terms would be that detritivores are the animals which feed on detritus while decomposers and the animals which get their energy by nutrition of other beings. Bacteria and Fungi are decomposers more often than not, while most of the insects and other beings are the ones which are detritivores. The main process with which both work is different as well, decomposes break down the cells of other organisms with the help of a secretion which falls over the other beings in the form of enzymes. Detritivores, on the other hand ingest material and need internal systems to provide them the power of obtaining nutrition and other sources to survive. There are many other differences too which will be explained at the end while a brief description of two types is given in the next two paragraphs to create a better understanding of how they are act under different conditions and the work process which follows.

Comparison Chart

DecomposersDetritivores
DefinitionThey are organisms which break the food that they need in order to survive.These are organisms which carry out the process of obtaining food with the help of internal organs.
OrgansDo not require such processes to complete the food process.Require the internal organs to help in digestion so that they can get the food they need.
SourceDo the breaking of the cells present in the human body and get the nutrition from it.Do the process opposite to it when they have to perform their own actions to get the nutrition.
ExampleBacteria and FungiInsects
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Definition of Decomposers

They are organisms which break the food that they need in order to survive. Whenever an animal or a plant is dead they get on to it and start the decaying process and this is known as decomposition. They are the organism which break down other dead beings and while doing so obtain food and nutrition for themselves and the whole process is known as decomposition. They do not need internal digestion but carry out their processes with the help of breaking the cells of various organisms. Another way of defining the two terms would be that detritivores are the animals which feed on detritus while decomposers and the animals which get their energy by nutrition of other beings. They should not be confused with other types and there are many examples of such type of process and the organisms which are involved in the process but the main ones are earthworm. decomposes break down the cells of other organisms with the help of a secretion which falls over the other beings in the form of enzymes. This process takes longer than the other ones since the beings have to act on their own with the help of secretions they produce and the animal on which they are acting is the one which takes longer time to decay.

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Definition of Detritivores

These are organisms which carry out the process of obtaining food with the help of internal organs and need the internal digestion to help them achieve the task they want to reach. There are many types of reactions that go on during this phase and many types of microscopic beings are a part of this. Detritivores are known as heterotrophs which obtain their food from sources such as plants and animals but they do so by decomposing the feces of these sources. There are many types of detritivores and several animals and plants which are common source of providing food for animals are the ones who provide energy and such items to these microorganisms. They have to ingest material and need internal systems to provide them the power of obtaining nutrition and other sources to survive. They are usually thought to be similar to the decomposers but there are many differences therefore bacteria, fungi and viruses who are a part of this process are thought to be different from the others. The best example of decomposers is slime moulds who carry out the process with the help of internal digestion and cannot secrete any liquid in order to decompose the food.

Differences in a Nutshell

  1. Detritivores are the beings which feed on other animals with the process of detritus while decomposers are the beings which feed on other beings with the process of decomposition.
  2. Detritivores require the internal organs to help in digestion so that they can get the food they need while decomposers do not require such processes to complete the food process.
  3. Decomposers do the breaking of the cells present in the human body and get the nutrition from it while Detritivores do the process opposite to it when they have to perform their own actions to get the nutrition.
  4. The best example of Detritivores is earthworm while the best example of decomposers is slime moulds.
  5. There is a complete chemical process that is carried out when a substance is being decomposed while that process does not take place in the process for Detritivores.
  6. Bacteria and Fungi are decomposers more often than not, while most of the insects and other beings are the ones which are detritivores.
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Comparison Video

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Conclusion

Decomposers and Detritivores might sound the same term but in reality they are very different from each other. They may have the same context but the meaning is variable which has been discussed in the article and a proper differences and definitions are given so that you know exactly what you are talking about.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss