Word of the Week: Detritivore

Ng Yi Min explains this week's creepy word.

Ng Yi Min
8th May 2018
Earthworms! Photo: Yun Huang Yong, Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

To those of you who are into zoology or biology, the word ‘detritivore’ shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to you.

Now that the bitter cold winter days are over and will not be back for another nine months, the world around us is slowly coming alive. People are out and about more, enjoying the extra sunlight; flowers are blooming and trees are growing ‘hair’ again; insects like bees and butterflies are too enjoying the sweet nectars of the flowers. So are the detritivores!

Detritivore are animals that feed on detritus (dead organic material) to obtain nutrients. In other words, they are known as the decomposers. A few good examples of detritivore are the earthworm, millipedes and slugs.

While most detritivores do not ‘dress’ in shiny armours – and look scary at times – it is an undeniable fact that they play an important role in the ecosystems. So maybe I shall try to not jump the next time I come across one on my way to lab!

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