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Science

Food chains

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Food webs

When all the food chains in a habitat are joined up together they form a food web. Here is an example of a food web:

Food web - The producer is grass, which is eaten by rabbits, insects and slugs. The rabbit is eaten by the fox. The insects are eaten by frogs, voles and thrushes. Thrushes also eat the slugs. Frogs, voles and thrushes are eaten by a hawk. Frogs and voles are also eaten by the fox.

Although it looks complex, it is just several food chains joined together. Here are some of the food chains in this food web:

grass → insect → vole → hawk

grass → insect → frog → fox

grass → insect → vole → fox

Notice that the frogs, voles and insects have more than one predator, but the rabbits and slugs have just one predator.

This leads to some interesting effects if the population of a particular organism in the food web decreases. Some animals can just eat more of another organism if food is in short supply, while others may starve and die. This in turn can affect the populations of other organisms in the food web.

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