Insects scavenging on plant waste as adults


Would you know, apart from cockroaches) which orders, families, genera and even species of insects are detritivores at the adult stage (it seems to me, for example, that this is the case for Tenebrionidae)?

Scathophaga, Scarabaeoidea, Silphidae, and Isoptera (or just all of Blattodea?) to name a few. Some butterflies, too. I’m not sure which species of butterflies are, but I know that it has been documented in them as well.

Oups, I forgot to specify that my question was about insects feeding on plant waste

Dermestidae will eat just about anything that was previously alive. Zygentoma, Ptinidae, Scarabaeidae, Tenebrionidae, and Silvanidae also have many. If fungi or dead tree bark still on the tree works, there are plenty of other beetle families.

OK. All these taxa have a detritivorous diet in the adult state (it seemed to me that the adult Scarabaeidae fed on the flowers) ?

What does plant waste mean exactly? Eg. does something like rotting fruit count? If so, then many insects, flies, wasps, butterflies etc. do feed on such food sources.

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as you said, rotten fruit, but also peelings or decaying plants.

It might be easier to ask which groups won’t feed on plant waste as adults. I have seen a captive mantis fed a bit of mashed banana. Certainly hymenoptera, coleoptera, diptera, lepidoptera, orthoptera etc. do. So I would say almost all insect orders at least occasionally scavenge. Most (all?) adult mayflies don’t eat, so maybe they never eat plant waste as adults. I don’t know of any hemiptera that feed on dead plant matter, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Odonata are strict predators, as far as I know, which isn’t so far.

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I’m pretty sure bugs would eat a rotten fruit.

Good point. I’ve certainly seen stink bugs on fallen apples.

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Also barklice are just made to eat waste, probably originally wingless orders can be brought to this category too.

Acrididae Grasshoppers would fit into this category as well but their relationship with plants goes far deeper than this
In the Highland grasslands near my house is an interspecific grasshopper nursery where adult females locate a colony of Pineapple Lillies (shaped exactly as their name suggests) and lay their eggs in the depressed center of the leaf rosette in Mid summer, offering the eggs a very good hiding spot from predators. Throughout the wet season, rain water collects in the the ‘cup’ formed by the rosette and triggers the eggs to hatch, and for the rest of Summer and early Autumn the growing nymphs feed on the slowly decaying leaves and stem of the plant

So … I forgot to specify that my research is focused on insects whose plant waste is one of their main food.

But the Acrididae don’t just feed on fresh plants?

I’m not a Grasshopper specialist but I’d imagine that senescent and slowly decaying plant matter accounts for the lions share of the Acrididae diet?
I’d guess that the only use they have for fresh plant matter is mostly restricted to the consumption of leaf exudates as are known to occur in some Fig species for example

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