Detritivores are complex organisms that feed on organic waste and break down organic material to become the nutrients for plants. Examples of detritivores are earthworms and maggots.
Detritivores should not be confused with decomposers. Decomposers also obtain energy from dead organisms and plant and animal waste products, but they are less complex organisms than detritivores. Examples of decomposers are bacteria and fungi.
Decomposers and detritivores both aid in decomposition. Decomposition is a chemical reaction in which compounds are broken down into simpler compounds. Elements that are not usable by organisms often appear and are processed by decomposers and detritivores.They process chemical compounds from the air, water and geosphere, and they transport nutrients into the soil.