One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An animal which feeds on dead organic material, especially plant detritus.
- ‘Some graze, some browse, some feed on plankton, some are scavengers or detritivores, some are active carnivores.’
- ‘These earliest insect species were probably detritivores, scavenging for organic matter in the thin soils of the time, although some species may have been herbivores feeding on live plants.’
- ‘The members of Echinoidea are suspension feeders, herbivores, detritivores, and predators.’
- ‘Thus, the evidence shows conclusively that the damage documented here was caused by herbivores, not detritivores.’
- ‘Sodium, by contrast, can be quite difficult to obtain for detritivores and herbivores in the terrestrial environment.’
1960s: from detritus + -vore ‘eating’ (see -vorous).
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