de·​tri·​ti·​vore di-ˈtrī-tə-ˌvȯr How to pronounce detritivore (audio)
: an organism (such as an earthworm or a fungus) that feeds on dead and decomposing organic matter

Examples of detritivore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Midge larvae love eating algae and are what’s called a detritivore, Calabrese said. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, 19 May 2020 Being a detritivore, the snail gets its nutrients primarily from eating rotted vegetation. National Geographic, 26 Mar. 2020 All parts of the food chain were attracted to the reefs, including herbivores, detritivores, planktivores and predatory piscivores, the researchers found. Fox News, 3 Dec. 2019 The discussion about detritivores, which process waste material into soil by way of their own humus-like waste material. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, 4 June 2017 These non-insect arthropods are usually detritivores (feed on decaying plant material), but can and do sometimes feed on vegetables, particularly root vegetables like carrots and sugar beets., 31 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'detritivore.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary detritus + -i- + -vore (from Latin -vorus -vorous)

First Known Use

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of detritivore was in 1959

Dictionary Entries Near detritivore

Cite this Entry

“Detritivore.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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