A heterotroph (“other-feeders”) is an organism that cannot make its own organic molecules of food and needs to get them by consuming other organisms or their organic materials. A heterotroph is also considered to be a consumer or decomposer of the food chain. Most prokaryotes are heterotrophic. They obtain their carbon molecules from organic compounds. Some heterotrophs, called photoheterotrophs, can receive energy from sunlight. Chemoheterotrophs obtain energy and carbon from organic molecules. All animals, such as the Green Cheek Conure bird pictured, are also heterotrophs.


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