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Home > Science > Living things > Food chains

Animals and plants are linked by food chains

Animals get energy and nutrients by eating other animals or plants.

For example

  • caterpillars eat leaves
  • mice eat caterpillars
  • owls eat mice
A diagram showing the stages in a food chain

These links between animals and plants are called food chains.

The arrow means 'is eaten by'.

Nearly all food chains start with a green plant.

Most animals and plants are part of more than one food chain.

Changes to food chains

If one part of a food chain alters, the whole food chain is affected. For example, if a disease suddenly wiped out caterpillars, it would affect mice, owls and many other animals.

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