What is a Food Chain?

A food chain shows how different organisms in an ecosystem depend on each other for food. It is a single path of energy flow in an ecosystem.

  • Producers: The food chain starts with producers that make their own food. Plants and algae produce their food through photosynthesis.
  • Primary Consumers: Animals that eat plants for food are called primary consumers. They are also known as herbivores — examples are cows, deer, rabbis, and grasshoppers.
  • Secondary Consumers: Animals that eat other animals are called secondary consumers. They can be carnivores (eat animals) or omnivores (eat animals and plants) — examples are frogs, lizards, birds, fish, and foxes.
  • Apex Predators: An animal that sits at the top of the food chain. Examples: Humans, owls, bears, and lions.
  • Decomposers/Detritivores: They are the final link in the food chain. They feed on dead or decaying plant and animal matter and convert them into nutrients.

What is a Food Web

A food web is a group of interconnected food chains within an ecosystem. 

  • Most organisms feed on and are consumed by more than one type of organism, so different food chains interact with each other.
  • A food web is organized into different trophic levels, with the producers at the bottom, followed by the primary and secondary consumers. 
  • Energy is transferred through the food web as organisms eat and are eaten by other organisms.
  • Food webs help to maintain balance and stability in an ecosystem. 

Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts about food chains and food webs:

  • A single-cell organism called Euglena is both a producer and a consumer that feeds on other microorganisms.
  • Tiny organisms called plankton are the producers of ocean food chains. 
  • Apex predators like lions and sharks have no natural predators. They help control the population of many species.  
  • Animals that migrate long distances find different food sources during their journey and participate in various food chains


Let’s quickly recap what we learned about food chains and food webs:

  • What is the starting point of a food chain? Producers
  • What are animals that eat producers called? Primary Consumers
  • What are animals that eat other animals called? Secondary Consumers
  • What are animals at the top of a food chain with no natural predators called? Apex Predators
  • What is the final link in a food chain? Decomposers/Detritivores
Click to Call Us