Questions & Answers

Write down a long food chain which ends with hawk.

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Hint: A food chain is made up of producers and consumers. The producers are represented primarily by the green plants, and photosynthetic bacteria. Consumers include herbivores, carnivores etc.

Complete answer: Food chain refers to sequence of events in an ecosystem, where one organism eats another and then is eaten by another organism. It starts with the primary source, like the sun, then producers make food, continues with consumers, or animals who eat the food, and ends with the top predator.
A food chain has the following structure:
Producers → Primary consumers (herbivores) → Secondary consumers (primary carnivores) → Tertiary consumers (Secondary carnivores) → etc
Common Features of Food Chain:
(i) Plants manufacture their own food and therefore, are at the first level of all food chains.
(ii) Food chains are complicated and each chain has side branches. Each branch divides thus complicating the food chain.
 (iii) The link in a food chain is usually three. As we move ahead in the food chain, the size of predators progressively increases. Finally, a stage is reached when the predator becomes so large in size that it can no longer be preyed upon.
Food chains on land: Organisms such as bacteria, maggots feed on the dead, and break them down into nutrients that keep the food chain going. By eating and excreting, decomposers return the nutrients of dead organisms to the soil, which nourishes the plants and hence the food chain starts all over again.
• Hazel tree - wood mouse - tawny owl
• Herring - salmon - bear
• Juniper berries - rabbit - fox
• Leaves - ants - anteaters
• Leaves - caterpillars - birds - snakes
• Switchgrass - earthworm - quail - hawk
Food chains in water: Food chains in water-based environments are complex. Decomposers distribute nutrients throughout the water column, feeding the plankton that form the base of all aquatic food chains.
• Insect - fish - humans
• Phytoplankton - copepod - bluefish - swordfish - human
• Plankton - shrimp - herring - cat
• Plankton - snail - mackerel - shark
• Plankton - snail - tuna - dolphin
• Caterpillars - turtles - alligators - humans
An example of food chain that ends up with hawk is shown below:
Acorns (producers) → mice (primary consumer) → snakes (secondary consumer) → hawks (tertiary consumer)
At each link, energy is being transferred from one animal to another and the hawk acts as the predator.

Note: Components of a food chain occupy different trophic levels. Producers are at first trophic level, the primary consumers at second and it goes on. Also, a particular organism may often occupy different trophic levels of a food chain. For example, human beings eat grains or as well as the flesh of goats that feed on the plant, thereby occupying two different trophic levels at the same time.