What Are Some Scavengers in a Tropical Rain Forest?

Some scavengers found in a tropical rain forest are velvet worms, king vulture, ants and giant millipedes. All of these organisms feed on and decompose dead matter.

Scavengers are organisms that help decompose dead matter. They keep an ecosystem free of rot and decay by breaking down organic matter. This matter can then be naturally recycled into nutrients for the environment.

Velvet worms are related to the ordinary earth worm. They are found in rotting logs and places with higher humidity. Their size can range between two and 10 centimeters. Velvet worms feed on insects, both dead and alive.

The king vulture is the largest of its species with a wingspan of up to five feet. As a scavenger the king vulture does not kill its own food, instead they feast on the remains of animals who have died by other means. In addition to maintaining the ecosystem function they help prevent the spread of disease by consuming the dead animals.

Giant African millipedes are the largest of their species growing in length up to 11 inches. These millipedes can be found under moist logs and rotting wood where they feed and decompose organisms back into the soil. Unlike centipedes they are not aggressive and are likely to curl into a tight ball when attacked.