noun, plural: saprophages
An organism that lives and feeds on decomposing organic matter.
Saprophages include bacteria, fungi and some invertebrates, such as insect larvae. They play a vital role in decomposition and nutrient cycling.
Word origin: Greek, from sapros, rotten + Greek -phagos, eating, from phagein, to eat.
Related forms: saprophagous (adjective).
Synonyms: detritivore, detritus feeder.
Compare: carnivore, herbivore.