Read and learn the cycle of food chain and get to know what the food web is all about.
We are not going to discuss about the successful food conglomerates like McDonalds, KFC, Wendy’s in America, or Jollibee Foods in the Philippines, and the likes. What we are going to tackle here is about a community where consumers depend on the producers and other consumers for foods.
Since time immemorial the grass provides food for a grasshopper. The grasshopper then is eaten by the frog. The frog is eaten by a snake and in turn the snake is eaten by a hawk and when the hawk dies, its remains are useful for the decomposers.
Food chain shows energy in the form of food which is passed on from an organism to another one in a community. It normally starts with a producer, followed by series of consumers and ends with a decomposer.
In our example earlier, the grasshopper directly feeds on the grass and because of that, the grasshopper can be called the first-order consumer. The grasshopper is eaten by the frog who happens to be the second-order consumer. The frog is eaten by a third-order consumer which is the snake; the snake in turn was eaten by a hawk which is a fourth-order consumer.
An illustration of the food chain
Illustration from www.declaration-important.org
It is evident that each organism in the food chain receives energy from the organism before it and some of this energy is then transferred to the organism right after it. Notice that at the end of a food chain or if not, near the end – is a consumer that is not eaten by other consumers. The producer or consumer that is not eaten will die eventually and become food for the decomposers.
Some consumers may eat other organisms from other food chains within the community – like the grasshopper; it also eats other plants aside from grasses. Rabbits and deer may also eat variety of plants. Hawks eat snake, which eat mice and rabbits. This situation result in food chains that overlap and form a complex pattern called food web, which is a feeding system containing many food chains.
For the survival of the community, food webs are necessary. The logic is – if one population of organisms is reduced, the other organisms in the food web may take over some of the population’s role in the community. The hawks can be in control of the mouse and rabbits populations. If for some reasons, the rabbits population increases because of too many foods; the snakes, hawks, and lions can all help in controlling their numbers.