The two main groups of decomposers are fungi and detritivores. Therefore, detritivores are a type of decomposer. Detritivores are different from other decomposers in that they consume material to break it down. Decomposers like bacteria and fungi don’t eat their food, they decompose it externally. Also, decomposers consume nutrients on a molecular level while detritivores eat large amount of decaying material and excrete nutrients.

Some examples of detritivores are worms, millipedes, dung flies, woodlice, slugs, sea stars, crabs and sea cucumbers. In addition to fungi, bacteria are also decomposer organisms.

Mushrooms in Elatia forest
The image above shows mushrooms (fungi) growing in the Elatia forest near Greece. Fungi are the most abundant organisms in the decomposer tropic level.


  • Difference Between Detritivores and Decomposers. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2017, from