Heterotroph Types:
5 Varieties with Examples

Heterotroph types come in 5 varieties:
(1) Herbivores: A consumer that eats plants or algae.
(2) Carnivores: A consumer that eats other animals.
(3) Omnivores: A consumer that eats both animals and plants/algae.
(4) Detritivores: Detritivores are NOT consumers They are a special type of organisms which eat the leftover “crumbs” left by other animals.
(5) Decomposers: Decomposers are NOT consumers and can chemically break things down into even smaller moecules than detritivores.

“Decomposers chemically break things down into even smaller moecules than detritivores”

20160527a heterotroph types
(click to enlarge)

Detritivores vs. decomposers, what is the difference?
Many people consider detritivores as a type of decomposers because detritivores and decomposers both eat waste materials for food.  The difference is that detritivores usually eat bigger pieces of waste materials such as bread crumbs, small pieces of feces…etc, while decomposers can eat something as small as a single molecule.

Next Generation Science Standards:

HS-LS2-4  Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem..

HS-LS2-5  Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.

What Science Does this Comic Teach?

Unit: Anatomy

⇒Chapter: Immunology

⇒Topic: Heterotroph Types

Additional Information


It is a microscopic matter made of atoms and chemical bonds.   Every molecule has a specific arrangement of atoms.  For example, a water molecule is made of 2 hydrogen atoms + 1 oxygen atom.

Chemically Break Things Down

This means a molecule has been broken down into even smaller pieces of molecules or have itself rearranged into a different type of molecule.  When something is chemically broken down, it happens at a very microscopic level.

Waste Materials in an Ecosystem

These materials include: rotting wood, dead animal carcasses, feces (poop), urine…etc.  In short, they are the organic garbage of an ecosystem.

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