Food chainA series of links between plants and animals expressed as feeding relationships in linear form. For example, if a slug feeds on vegetation and is then eaten by a thrush (genus Turdus), which is in turn taken by a Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, the resulting food chain would be as follows: vegetation - slug - thrush - hawk. Each link in the chain is called a 'trophic level' and in this particular example the hawk is the 'top predator'. In reality the concept of a 'food web' is more valid than that of a food chain, as few animals have a single food source.
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From Peter Weaver's Birdwatcher's Dictionary
Copyright © 1981 by Peter Weaver