From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Ecology (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of the WikiProject Ecology, an effort to create, expand, organize, and improve ecology-related articles.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the importance scale.
WikiProject Death (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Death, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Death on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


Fungi are not bacteria, yet they appear in the bacteria section. There should be either a section for microorganisms or two seperate sections for fungi and bacteria. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:09, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Added Previously deleted text back into the article


Hi its the other main co-author please try ur best 2 discribe the reason for editing thank u!

i'm looking up decomposers, producers, and scavengers for school. when i look up producer, the results have to do with the broadway musical The Producers. isn't there a way to put related subjects together? stella k. 18 tampa, florida

you suck

Try looking up "Autotroph", as you may know an autotroph is an orginism that produces its own food.

I added a few more to this list (woodlice and millipedes). I also removed mold, since it is redundant with fungi. Mold also kept being changed between British and American english, and back. I can't tell if this article was originally written in British or American. Does anyone know? Also, how about merging the "see also" and "related topic" sections? Cheers, Justinleif 02:02, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I originally wrote the article in American english, yet some of what I did was an old revert and i dont know where that came from. I can merge the two for you, that idea seams valid. Wikipedi 16:02, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Animal Decomposers?[edit] removed all of the animals from the list of decomposers (earthworms, millipedes, woodlice). Although I realize that bacteria and fungi are the primary decomposers, and that many people prefer to call animals that consume dead organic matter detritivores, this page currently defines decomposer in such a way as to include animals. I am not opposed to restricting the definition to microbes or stating in the article that animals are discussed on the detritivore page, but I don't think deleting the animals without making any other changes, or explaining the deletion on the talk page is appropriate. I am reverting the change for now, but feel free to discuss the issue. Cheers, Justinleif 18:30, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I have begun a major rewrite and reorganization of this page, including adding a section that discusses the difference between microbial decomposers and animal detritivores. Hopefully this will break the current cycle of people adding and then others deleting earthworms and such from this page. Please help proof my rewrite. Cheers, Justinleif 20:42, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I teach biology at both the high school and college level. At these levels, animals are not considered decomposers, because their method of consumption and their role in the ecosystem is quite different. Calling a detritivore a decomposer is an elementary way of defining their role: i.e. fine for a basic understanding, but not fully descriptive. (This is similar to telling a child that an unborn baby is in its mommy's tummy! I don't believe that Wikipedia would allow the uterus to be called a "tummy.") At the very least, if detritivores are going to be left on this page, could we at least explain the confusion, and point out that this is a low-level explanation. (I have a personal stake in this -- my students use Wikipedia for much of their research, and they keep getting this concept wrong at the level that we are working!) Egon14 11:30 9 May 2011 —Preceding undated comment added 15:32, 9 May 2011 (UTC).

REBEL WAS HERE —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:29, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Aquatic and marine decomposers?[edit]

As I mentioned above, I did a major rewrite and reorganization of the page today. I don't really know anything about decomposition in aquatic and marine ecosystems, however. I assume that it is primarily carried out by bacteria with some contribution from fungi, but I don't really know. So if anyone does know, please added what they know to the appropriate sections. This should not be a strictly terrestrial article, but it kind of is at present. Cheers, Justinleif 22:42, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Merge with saprotroph[edit]

Although saprotroph and decomposer clearly mean the same thing, I am reluctant to support the merger because the words are used by different groups of people. Saprotroph is primarily used by mycologists, and the saprotroph page is specifically about fungi and under the control of the WikiProject Fungi. Decomposer is used by ecologists to refer to both bacteria and fungi. Obviously a single page could be made which discusses the subtle differences in usage, but I worry that the page would become too much about the semantics of who uses which words to refer to what. This would be less of a problem if the page had more content about the biology of decomposers (such as aquatic and marine sections, see above). Cheers Justinleif 18:25, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Both fungi and bacteria are saprotrophs – that's not a problem. I see two problems:
1) "Saprotroph" and "decomposer" do not mean exactly the same thing. "Saprotroph" refers to a mode of getting food/energy and refers to an organism's autecology, while "decomposer" refers to its role in the food web, referring to the organism's place in community ecology. Its exactly analogous to the difference between the terms "autotroph" and "primary producer", which are likewise treated in separate articles.
2) Animal scavengers and detritovores are sometimes treated as primary decomposers, even though they are not really saprotrophs.
I therefore oppose the merge. I do, however, think Saprotroph needs to be expanded and that both articles should contain language explaining the relationship of saprotrophy to decomposition and what the difference between the two terms is. Peter G Werner 06:04, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps a disambiguation page should be created? { 19:04, 15 August 2007 (UTC)}

Saprotroph/Decomposer Merger[edit]

I am a 2nd year Med student studying microbiology, and I looked up saprotroph after my first mycology lecture. I am glad that it did not lead me to the decomposer article, as the saprotroph article was more in tune with what I was studying. I agree that the subtle differences in the words and their usages merits two separate entries. 21:24, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

decomposers killed?[edit]

what would happen if all the decomposers in the world were killed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Devoder (talkcontribs) 10:03, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


decomposers —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:29, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:06, 1 October 2011 (UTC)


So the groups of decomposers currently listed in the article are bacteria, fungi and worms. Shouldn't beetles also be listed? They're also decomposers, aren't they? (talk) 16:39, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


Based on the article, it seems that decomposers only include organisms that do not use internal digestion, and instead break down decaying matter with chemical reactions. From my knowledge, it seems like worms are actually detrivores (or scavengers, as the article currently says), not decomposers, unless some worms do not have to internally digest their food. Could someone more knowledgeable either remove this or specify that some worms are decomposers? Dberard (talk) 06:13, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

I looked into it and it does seem they are often called decomposers and can act as them in some ways, but there seems to be a lot of mixing between the two terms. Added in what I could verify and mentioned their role as detrivores as well.

Scio nihil (talk) 03:04, 20 April 2015 (UTC)