Detritivores are organisms that derive their nutrition from the organic waste of dead and decaying plants and animals. They occupy the topmost position in the food chain. The terrestrial detritivores include butterflies, beetles, snails and slugs. The detritivores in the aquatic ecosystem are lobsters, crabs and sea stars.
The functions of the detritivores include:
- They break down the dead and decaying matter, thereby, helping in recycling nutrients.
- Detritivores such as earthworms that live in soil, aerate the soil and help in plant growth.
- They help in the removal of dead matter and prevent the spread of diseases.