|Topics||Decomposers, Primary Consumers, Scavengers, Secondary Consumers, Tertiary Consumers|
Decomposers (saprotrophs) are organisms such as bacteria and fungi that break down the organic matter in the dead bodies of plants and animals into simple nutrients.
Primary consumers (herbivores) subsist on producers like plants and fungus. Examples are grasshoppers, cows, and plankton.
Like decomposers, scavengers also break down the dead bodies of plants and animals into simple nutrients. The difference is that scavengers operate on much larger refuse and dead animals (carrion). Decomposers then consume the much smaller particles left over by the scavengers.
Secondary consumers (carnivores) subsist mainly on primary consumers. Omnivores are secondary consumers that also eat producers. Examples are rats, fish, and chickens.
Tertiary consumers eat primary consumers and secondary consumers and are typically carnivorous predators. Tertiary consumers may also be omnivores. Examples include wolves, sharks, and human beings.