Food Chain Facts

A food chain shows the feeding relationship between different living things in a particular environment or habitat. Often, a plant will begin a food chain because it can make its own food. Organisms that can make their own food are called producers. Consumers are animals that eat producers or other animals. The animal that eats the producer is called the primary consumer. The animal that eats the primary consumer is called a secondary consumer. The animal that eats the secondary consumer is called a third order consumer and so on to fourth, fifth, etc. See the fact file below for more information about food chains.
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  • The food chain is the transfer of energy from one species to another.
  • All living things needs energy for living beings to grow.
  • Within a food chain, some living things create the energy (producers) and some use the energy (consumers).
  • Plants are producers of energy, as they make their own food (using sunlight, soil, and other elements).
  • Animals are consumers, because they have to eat other animals and plants
  • There are four different types of consumers in the animal kingdom. A carnivore is an animal that only eats other animals. An herbivore is an animal that only eats plants. An omnivore is an animal that eats both plants and animals. A scavenger is an animal that eats dead animals.
  • The food chain can begin with a plant. The plant is then eaten by an insect. The insect is eaten by a bird. The bird is eaten by a large mammal. The mammal dies after being hit by a car. It decomposes and is broken down and used as food by bacteria and fungi.
  • There are more than 100,000 different types of decomposer organisms. These simpler nutrients are returned to the soil and can be used again by the plants. Then the energy chain begins all over again.
  • If one level is removed from the food chain, it can have disastrous results.
  • Humans are at the end of the food chain. They eat both plants and animals that have consumed other forms of energy.

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