The Trophic chains or food chains are energy or nutritional cycles between the different species involved in a biological community, in which each one feeds from the previous one.
Is named trophic level to each link in this chain, which determines the relationship of a species with those that are up or down in the chain: predators and food respectively. However, it is a cycle that feeds back when large predators die and support the microorganisms and scavengers that feed on their remains.
Broadly speaking, a food chain is made up of a first rung of producers (usually photosynthetic), a link of herbivores or harvesters, and then an ascending succession of predators until reaching the largest.
The problems of the trophic chain point to the disappearance of some middle link, which would lead to the disorderly proliferation of some species and the extinction of others, as the biological balance is lost.
Examples of food chains
- At sea, the phytoplankton (vegetable) serves as food for malacostraceous crustaceans (krill), which are eaten by (very) small fish. These, in turn, are preyed upon by larger fish such as sardines, which serve as food for predators such as barracuda. These, when dying, are decomposed by scavengers such as crabs and other crustaceans.
- The rabbits They feed on plants and herbs, but are preyed upon by pumas, foxes, and other medium-sized carnivorous quadrupeds. When they die, the latter serve as food for carrion birds such as gallinazos (zamuros).
- The plants They are parasitized by caterpillars, which serve as food for various small birds, in turn preyed upon by hunting birds such as the eagle or the hawk, whose bodies will be decomposed by bacteria and fungi when they die.
- The insects like lobsters eat plant leaves, insectivorous toads eat them and snakes eat toads. And finally, these snakes may be eaten by larger ones.
- The marine zooplankton It serves as food for the whales, who capture them with their long bales, and these are preyed upon by man.
- The decaying flesh of the dead animals It serves as food for the larvae of flies, which as they grow and become imagos will be preyed upon by spiders, in turn victims of other larger spiders, which serve as food for raccoons and coatis, finally preyed upon by carnivorous hunting snakes such as the Jingle Bell.
- The pasture nourishes the sheep, favorite victims of jaguars and pumas, who when they die are decomposed into humus by bacteria and fungi, thus nourishing the grass again.
- The Cortex of the trees serves as food for certain types of fungi, which are in turn food for small rodents (such as squirrels), which are in turn preyed upon by birds of prey (such as owls).
- The marine phytoplankton It is food for bivalves such as mussels, which are preyed upon by crabs and these in turn by seagulls.
- The beetles Peloteros feed on the feces of higher animals, but are preyed upon by lizards and lizards, in turn feeding on mammals such as coyotes.
- Many insects like bees They subsist on floral nectar, and are preyed upon by spiders that in turn feed small birds, victims of wild cats such as the wild cat.
- The zooplankton Marine feeds small mollusks such as squid, preyed mainly by medium-sized fish, in turn food for seals and marine mammals, which can in turn be hunted by orca whales.
- The decomposing organic matter feeds bacteria, which do the same with protozoa (such as free-living amoebae), and these with certain nematodes (worms), which in turn provide sustenance for larger nematodes.
- The butterflies They feed on floral or fruit nectar, and are food for predatory insects such as the praying mantis. But it also serves as food for bats, who are eventually preyed upon by possums.
- The undergrowth It supports large herbivores such as the zebra, which in turn is preyed upon by the crocodile.
- The earthworms They feed on decomposing organic matter in the earth itself, and are in turn food for small birds, also victims of hunting felines such as cats, which, when they die, return organic matter to the earth to feed new worms.
- The corn It serves as food for chickens, whose eggs are eaten by weasels, and these in turn by hunting snakes.
- Some water spiders They feed on hunting larvae of other insects, during their submerged stage, and at the same time serve as prey for some river fish, which are preyed upon by the Kingfisher bird or by storks.
- At sea, the plankton It serves as food for small fish, and these for larger fish that are in turn preyed upon by larger fish. The proverb says that there is always a bigger fish in the ocean.
- Some parasitic insects in the fur of mammals (such as ticks) they are the food of symbiotic birds that obtain their food by cleaning these mammals. These birds are in turn preyed upon by birds of prey such as the condor.