|Trophic level||Primary consumers||Secondary, tertiary consumers|
grazers - feed on grass at ground level
browsers – feed on tree/shrub leaves at higher level
prey – live animals killed and eaten
carrion – already dead: abandoned kill?
|Composed of||Cell walls - cellulose
– not digestible without help from microorganisms in gut
Not much protein
|Digestive system||Long gut or rumen + other chambers, together with regurgitation and “chewing the cud”||Fairly short gut|
(specialisation of teeth)
|Incisors to cut grass
No canines to allow more intake of plant material
Molars usually move sideways to grind vegetable matter and are worn down as a result.
Some herbivores have backup teeth which move in from behind!
Canines to stab and grip prey
Molars closely hinged to shear meat off bones, and crush bones
|Nutritional value of food||Low||High|
|Ease of digestion of food||Low||High|
|Volume of food||High||Low|
Grazing (large area of grass)
Browsing (systematic picking from trees/shrubs)
Hunting (usually single targets)
? much “leisure time”?
|Consequences||Exposed for long time to predators from all sides||Much spare time to plan and execute ambushes|
|Eyes||All round vision necessary – eyes on side of head||Eyes at front of head – visual overlap enhances distance judgement for pouncing|
|Main lifestyle option||Herds – “safety in numbers”
Some members may act as lookouts
|Solitary hunters (small prey) or
hunt in pack (especially for larger prey)
|Consequences||Consume all the food in one area, and have to move on||Likely to follow prey, or ambush them in certain areas|