What tertiary consumers are and their characteristics

What tertiary consumers are and their characteristics

In biology animals can be organized in different theoretical strata according to their function in the ecosystem. In this way, the concept of a trophic chain is created, in which organisms are represented at different levels depending on their relations with the rest of the organisms of the same medium.

In the case of tertiary consumers, we are talking about animals occupying the fourth strata or link of the chain, above secondary consumers and under quaternary consumers, although the latter are not always taken into account in trophic chains.

These are therefore animals that feed on other animals that are also hunters such as the lion, which, in addition to feeding on herbivores, can also hunt other predatory species.

From this example we can draw a very important characteristic from tertiary consumers. The same animal species may be placed in one stratum or another depending on its activity or food source in each situation. In this way, if we continue with the example of the lion, it acts as a secondary consumer when fed on herbivores, who are primary consumers, while assuming the role of tertiary consumer when hunting and feeding on other hunting animals, which are secondary consumers.

Some common features of tertiary consumers are:

  • They occupy the fourth stratum of the trophic chain, above secondary consumers.
  • Its role in the ecosystem is to control the population of secondary consumers, causing hunter pressure to be maintained on primary consumers with bearable for the latter.
  • These are very efficient predators, capable of hunting other predators.

Consumidores terciarios: qué son y ejemplos – Qué son los consumidores terciarios y sus características

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