Scavengers are frequently looked at in a negative connotation for reasons that do not make much sense. A lot of this negativity is caused by society and their misconceptions that start in the media. People see a deer on the side of the road and think about what a shame it is to see such a peaceful and calm animal die in such a way. Then they also see vultures swoop in to start feeding on the dead carcass. The first thing that comes to one’s mind is that these animals are disgusting, ugly, and greedy creatures that are just after flesh. What people don’t know is that these scavengers are doing our ecosystem a huge service. Decomposers and scavengers break down dead plants and animals. They also break down the waste of other organisms. Decomposers are very important for any ecosystem. If they weren’t in the ecosystem, the plants would not get essential nutrients, and dead matter and waste would pile up. There are two kinds of decomposers, scavengers and decomposers. Scavengers are animals that find dead animals or plants and eat them. While they eat them, they break them into small bits. In this simulation, flies, wasps and cockroaches are scavengers. Earthworms are also scavengers, but they only break down plants. Once a scavenger is done, the decomposers take over, and finish the job as the final clean-up crew. Many kinds of decomposers are microscopic, meaning that they can’t be seen without a microscope. Others, like fungi, can be seen. Different kinds of decomposers do different jobs in the ecosystem. Others, like some kinds of bacteria, prefer breaking down meat or waste from carnivores. Society tends to put its own twist on to some things in our ecosystem and one of those misconceptions is that scavengers are extremely beneficial to our environment.
Contributor: Kevin Ufferfilge