What Are the Four Types of Consumers in Ecology?

The four types of consumers in ecology are herbivores, carnivores, omnivores and decomposers. Herbivores consume only vegetation and carnivores consume only other animals. Omnivores consume a mixed diet of plants and animals and decomposers consume plant and animal remains.

Herbivores are primary consumers in the ecosystem, such as elephants or giraffes. Carnivores are tertiary, or secondary, consumers, such as tigers or lions. Omnivores are animals that feed on both plants and animals. Humans are a good example of omnivores.

Decomposers break down plant and animal remains. These consumers turn the remains into organic material that returns to the soil. Bacteria, fungi, small arthropods and earthworms are all types of decomposers.