What is the Food Chain?
We live in an environment where there are a number of organisms that live with us, such as plants, animals, insects, reptiles, and different kinds of plants and trees. These organisms are dependent on one another for food and nutrition. The organisms are placed on various levels as per their requirement of nutrition, and each level is known as a trophic level. There is a continuous transfer of energy in the form of food, and this transfer is termed as a food chain. The transfer can take palace from one organism to another or from one level to another.
A food chain can be defined as the transfer of energy and nutrients in the form of food from one organism to another. A food chain always starts with the producers and ends with the apex predator.
For Example, Grass → Insects → lizard → Snake.
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A food chain is of two types, Grazing Food Chain and Detritus Food Chain.
There is a lot of difference between the grazing food chain and detritus food chain, and here we will discuss it in detail.
Grazing Food Chain
As we know, the primary source of energy is the sun. The plants convert the sun’s energy into food by the process of photosynthesis. This is the start of the grazing food chain. A food chain where the energy is gained by the organisms is from photosynthesis; it is termed as the Grazing Food Chain.
The Grazing food chain starts with the green plants as they are the producers and can perform photosynthesis. Then the energy is transferred from the green plants to the herbivores. In a grazing food chain, the sun is the ultimate or primary source from which energy transfer takes place.
The Grazing Food Chain can be further subdivided into two types:
Predator Food Chain - Here, the autotrophs or producers are directly consumed by the herbivores.
Parasitic Food Chain - Here, the Herbivores that eat the producers are infected by parasites.
The Grazing food chain is a type of food chain where the energy transfer is between the lowest trophic levels. Examples of Grazing Food Chain are:
Phytoplankton → small fish → Large Fish
The Above food chain is an example of an aquatic grazing food chain. Here, we can see that the phytoplanktons which are the aquatic plants are consumed by small fishes which are eaten by large fishes.
Grass → Deer → Lion/Tiger.
Here is another example of a grazing food chain which represents the Terrestrial animal food chain.
Detritus Food Chain
In a Detritus Food Chain, the main source of nutrition is dead plants or animals. The detritus food chain does not depend on solar energy. The organisms that gain their energy from the dead remains of the plants or animals are known as Detrivores or Decomposers.
In a detritus food chain, the energy is first transferred from the dead remains of plants and animals to the decomposers and then it is transferred to the predators feeding on the decomposers.
Examples of Detritus Food Chain are:
Dead Organic Matter → Micro-organisms → Decomposers.
Here, The food chain starts with the dead remains of plants and animals, which is consumed by micro-organisms such as bacteria or fungi. These micro-organisms are eaten by decomposers such as snails, earthworms, and the decomposers are finally consumed by other large animals.
Difference Between Grazing and Detritus Food Chain
Grazing Food Chain and Detritus Food Chain have certain differences which we have listed down here.
Here we have provided the distinguish between grazing and detritus food chain are: