Dictionary > Secondary consumer

Secondary consumer

Definition
noun, plural: secondary consumers
Any organism that consumes or feeds largely on primary consumers, as well as autotrophs
Supplement
A food chain is a feeding hierarchy showing the various trophic levels. A trophic level is a position in a food chain or an ecological pyramid. The organisms grouped into a trophic level share a common mode by which they obtain nourishment. There are three fundamental ways organisms obtain nourishment. Producers or autotrophs are organisms that obtain food from inorganic sources and are capable of synthesizing their food (through photosynthesis). In the ecological pyramid or a food chain, producers are at the base. They are followed by consumers that obtain nourishment by feeding on organic matter, such as plants and animals. The last group in the food chain or ecological pyramid and is located on top level is the decomposers or the detritivores.
Consumers are organisms that derive their nutrients largely from an organic matter (e.g. animals). They are not capable of photosynthesis and therefore rely on hunting, parasitism, predation, etc. to obtain food. In a food chain, consumers may be further grouped into primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. Secondary consumers are largely comprised of carnivores that feed on the primary consumers or herbivores. Other members of this group are omnivores that not only feed on primary consumers but also on producers or autotrophs. An example is a fox eating rabbit.
Synonym(s):

  • second-level consumer

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