Chameleons room a bizarre and also colorful example of a heterotroph, an organism that consumes other animals or tree – favor this unfortunately cricket – come sustain itself.

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Photograph by kuritafsheen


A heterotroph is one organism that eats various other plants or pets for energy and nutrients. The hatchet stems native the Greek indigenous hetero because that “other” and also trophe for “nourishment.”

Organisms are characterized into two vast categories based upon how they obtain their energy and nutrients: autotrophs and heterotrophs. Autotrophs are well-known as producers since they are able to make their own food from life materials and energy. Examples incorporate plants, algae, and also some types of bacteria. Heterotrophs are known as consumers because they consume producers or various other consumers. Dogs, birds, fish, and also humans space all examples of heterotrophs.

Heterotrophs occupy the second and 3rd levels in a food chain, a sequence of biology that provide energy and nutrients for other organisms. Every food chain is composed of three trophic levels, which explain an organism’s function in an ecosystem. Occupying the an initial trophic level room autotrophs, such together plants and algae. Herbivores—organisms that eat plants—occupy the second level. Carnivores (organisms the eat meat) and also omnivores (organisms that eat plants and meat) accounting the 3rd level. Both major (herbivores) and secondary (carnivores and also omnivores) consumers space heterotrophs, while major producers space autotrophs.

A third type of heterotrophic consumer is a detritivore. These organisms attain food by feeding top top the remains of plants and also animals and also fecal matter. Detritivores play critical role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem by recycling waste. Instances of detritivores include fungi, worms, and insects.

There room two subcategories the heterotrophs: photoheterotrophs and chemoheterotrophs. Photoheterotrophs space organisms that gain their energy from light, however must tho consume carbon from other organisms, as they cannot make use of carbon dioxide from the air. Chemoheterotrophs, through contrast, acquire both your energy and carbon from other organisms.

A significant difference between autotrophs and also heterotrophs is the the former are able to do their very own food by photosynthesis conversely, the last cannot. Photosynthesis is a procedure that entails making glucose (a sugar) and also oxygen indigenous water and also carbon dioxide using energy from sunlight. Autotrophs are able to manufacture power from the sun, yet heterotrophs should rely on other organisms because that energy.

Another significant difference in between autotrophs and also heterotrophs is the autotrophs have an important pigment called chlorophyll, which permits them to catch the power of sunlight during photosynthesis, conversely, heterotrophs perform not. There is no this pigment, photosynthesis might not occur.

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Heterotrophs benefit from photosynthesis in a selection of ways. They count on the process for oxygen, which is produced as a byproduct during photosynthesis. Moreover, photosynthesis sustains the autotrophs the heterotrophs rely on come survive. If meat-eating carnivores might not straight depend top top photosynthetic plants to survive, they perform depend ~ above other pets that consume photosynthetic plants together a food source.