Meaning of Heterotrophic Organisms

What are Heterotrophic Organisms:

Heterotrophic organisms are all living things that depend on other organisms for food and nutrition.

Heterotrophic or heterotrophic organisms are characterized by being part of the second link and the third link of the food chains.

The second link in the food chains, also known as consumers, are divided into:

  • primary consumers: generally herbivores, they feed on producers (autotrophs) such as bees and sheep.
  • secondary consumers: carnivores or omnivores that feed on primary consumers such as reptiles and rodents.
  • tertiary consumers: called superpredators, are those who do not have direct predators such as, for example, the lion and man.

The third link in the food chains are also heterotrophic but decomposing organisms, such as some bacteria from the monera kingdom and some fungi from the fungi kingdom.

Organisms and heterotrophic nutrition

Heterotrophic organisms have a heterotrophic nutrition that indicates a diet based on organic matter created by other organisms, since they are not capable of creating their own food.

In this way, heterotrophic animals are divided into different types of nutrition such as:

  • holozoic nutrition: they have a digestive system that manages to digest all the food eaten as, the human being,
  • saprotrophic nutrition: that they are fed with decomposing organic matter such as, for example, vultures and
  • parasitic nutrition: living dependent on other living beings such as, for example, ticks and intestinal flora.

Therefore, the only living things that are not heterotrophs are plants, algae, and some bacteria.

Heterotrophic and autotrophic organisms

Heterotrophic organisms differ from autotrophs because they are not capable of producing their own food. In this way, heterotrophic animals constitute the consumers and decomposers of the food chains.

Autotrophic organisms are characterized by their autotrophic nutrition. Most of them belong to the plantae kingdom and are capable of producing their own food without depending on other living beings through, for example, photosynthesis.

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