An organism that cannot make its own food is called a heterotroph. All animals and species of fungi, along with some types of bacteria, are heterotrophs.
Decomposers, consumers and detritivores are all examples of heterotrophs. Decomposers get needed nutrients by breaking down decaying animals and plants or the waste products of other organisms. Some types of fungi and bacteria are classified as decomposers.
Consumers survive by eating other living things. Humans are consumers because they eat plants and animals. Detritivores feed on dead organisms and decaying matter, and what they leave behind is eaten by decomposers. Vultures feed on dead animals, so they are classified as detritivores. All three types of heterotrophs are important to their ecosystems.
Heterotrophs also rely on autotrophs for their survival. Autotrophs are organisms that have the ability to produce their own food. Some autotrophs use the energy generated by chemical reactions to produce food, while others use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen.
If there were no autotrophs, many organisms would cease to exist. Herbivores, which are plant-eating organisms, would not have any food. Omnivores eat plants as well as animals, so there would be less available to them. Some decomposers feed on decaying plant matter. Without plants, there would not be as much food available to these organisms.Learn More
Organisms that produce their own food are called producers. These producers are part of the biotic factors in an ecosystem.Full Answer >
Microbe World indicates that fungi absorb food from their immediate surroundings directly through their cell walls unlike animals, which eat food, and plants, which produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis. Kew Gardens adds that fungi function like an inside-out version of an animal's stomach. Instead of eating food and digesting it internally, fungi first dissolve food into simpler nutrients and then absorb the food after they digest it.Full Answer >
Plants produce their own food, while animals must eat other organisms to survive. Plants make their own food via the process of photosynthesis, which involves using the sun's energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugar.Full Answer >
Some protists produce their own food through photosynthesis, while others obtain energy by consuming particles of organic substances, viruses and bacteria. Some protists have the unique ability to obtain nutrition using both processes; when sunlight is plentiful, they use the autotrophic method of nutrient acquisition (photosynthesis) and feed off organic materials in dark or low light conditions.Full Answer >