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Feeding Relationships

In this worksheet students are able to explore a variety of feeding relationships including food chains, webs and pyramids as well as looking at adaptations that predators and prey have to catch prey or to avoid capture.

'Feeding Relationships' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Biology: Interactions and Interdependencies

Curriculum subtopic:  Relationships in an Ecosystem

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Feeding relationships sounds like a weird title - is that the relationship between a shipwrecked sailor and a cannibal? Or perhaps it's someone who's a vegetarian in a relationship with a meat-eater?

 

In fact, it's neither of these! This worksheet will explore what feeds on what, and why, and how they are adapted to do so. It will also look at the differences between documenting food relationships, using food chains, webs and pyramids. It will also introduce the idea of energy transfer through feeding.

 

So, let's get our teeth into it!

First of all let's look at some differences between the predator and its prey, thinking about birds and mammals in this case. Predators and prey have different adaptations which are specific to them, and some adaptations which they have both developed.

 

Below is a list of adaptations. You need to drag PREDATOR, PREY or BOTH next to each one according to which you think that adaptation applies to.

If you can't see the whole sentences in the boxes on the left, hover your mouse over them.

Column A

Column B

sharp claws
BOTH
eyes on side of head for all-round vision
PREDATOR
excellent hearing and sense of smell
PREY
excellent camouflage
PREDATOR
eyes facing forward
BOTH
canine teeth in mammals
PREDATOR

What is the name given to an organism that manufactures its own food?

herbivore

vegetarian

producer

What name is given to an organism that feeds on animals?

carnivore

herbivore

producer

A good way of showing 'what eats what' is to place them into a food chain.

Here are four inhabitants of a freshwater habitat:

 

 

 

Match each organism to its correct place in the food chain by dragging it next to its feeding description.

Column A

Column B

producer
TADPOLE
herbivore
STICKLEBACK
second consumer
ALGAE
top predator
PIKE

You chose one of the animals in Q4 as a secondary consumer. Which ONE of the following is NOT a correct way of describing its feeding relationship in this food chain?

carnivore

predator

prey

omnivore

Here is a food chain from a woodland:

 

   
OAK LEAF   APHID (greenfly)   LADYBIRD   BLACKBIRD

 

What is the importance of the arrows in a food chain?

they show what eats what

they show which way the energy is travelling

they show where the food goes

A more realistic situation in any habitat is a FOOD WEB as it represents the number of feeding relationships. Here is a food web from the wood:

 

 

 

For example you can see that, as well as feeding on ladybirds, blackbirds also eat caterpillars and woodbeetles. See whether you can work out which animal in the food web is being described by its feeding relationships here:

This animal eats caterpillars, woodbeetles and snails and is preyed on by the hawk.

 

Use the food web above to work out which animal this is.

ladybird

blackbird

thrush

Here is the food web again:

 

One food chain from this web we have already explored:

 

   
OAK LEAF   APHID (greenfly)   LADYBIRD   BLACKBIRD

 

What is the TOTAL number of food chains (including the one above) that you can find in the whole food web?

4

5

6

7

 

If an insecticide was sprayed on a nearby field but was blown by the wind into this oak tree, which organisms might be AFFECTED (note that word carefully!).

just the insects

tree, insects and snails

tree, insects and birds

all of them

One further way of showing feeding relationships between organisms is to use a pyramid of numbers.

Look at this food pyramid from a field:

 

 

One of the organisms forms the foundation on which the pyramid is built and on which it depends. Which organism is that?

producer

herbivore

carnivore

  • Question 1

First of all let's look at some differences between the predator and its prey, thinking about birds and mammals in this case. Predators and prey have different adaptations which are specific to them, and some adaptations which they have both developed.

 

Below is a list of adaptations. You need to drag PREDATOR, PREY or BOTH next to each one according to which you think that adaptation applies to.

If you can't see the whole sentences in the boxes on the left, hover your mouse over them.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

sharp claws
PREDATOR
eyes on side of head for all-roun...
PREY
excellent hearing and sense of sm...
BOTH
excellent camouflage
BOTH
eyes facing forward
PREDATOR
canine teeth in mammals
PREDATOR
EDDIE SAYS
Some of those were quite tricky! Predators often have sharp claws to capture prey, forward facing eyes (good for judging distance) and mammals have canine teeth for holding on to prey and ripping flesh. Prey, on the other hand, need to be aware of attack and often have side-mounted eyes (like sheep), giving them a brilliant field of view. Both of them often use good camouflage and excellent senses either to capture prey or to attempt to avoid capture.
  • Question 2

What is the name given to an organism that manufactures its own food?

CORRECT ANSWER
producer
EDDIE SAYS
A producer is the 'food chain' name given to plants, because they photosynthesise and make their own food (which feeds the food chain) from sunshine and simple chemicals.
  • Question 3

What name is given to an organism that feeds on animals?

CORRECT ANSWER
carnivore
EDDIE SAYS
An organism that feeds on animals must be a carnivore - that is a meat-eater, like a tiger, a spider or a jellyfish.
  • Question 4

A good way of showing 'what eats what' is to place them into a food chain.

Here are four inhabitants of a freshwater habitat:

 

 

 

Match each organism to its correct place in the food chain by dragging it next to its feeding description.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

producer
ALGAE
herbivore
TADPOLE
second consumer
STICKLEBACK
top predator
PIKE
EDDIE SAYS
So, the algae makes the food by photosynthesis (producer) and it is fed on by the tadpole (so that's a herbivore) which, in turn, is eaten by the stickleback (so that's the second consumer, a carnivore). Finally that is eaten by the pike and, as nothing eats it, it is the Top Predator.
  • Question 5

You chose one of the animals in Q4 as a secondary consumer. Which ONE of the following is NOT a correct way of describing its feeding relationship in this food chain?

CORRECT ANSWER
omnivore
EDDIE SAYS
The stickleback is the secondary consumer in this food chain: it feeds on the tadpole (carnivore/predator) and is fed on by the pike (prey) so it is NOT an omnivore (eats plants and animals).
  • Question 6

Here is a food chain from a woodland:

 

   
OAK LEAF   APHID (greenfly)   LADYBIRD   BLACKBIRD

 

What is the importance of the arrows in a food chain?

CORRECT ANSWER
they show which way the energy is travelling
EDDIE SAYS
The arrows in a food chain are all about energy: the producer makes the energy that feeds the food chain and the arrows are simply showing the transfer of that energy from organism to organism.
  • Question 7

A more realistic situation in any habitat is a FOOD WEB as it represents the number of feeding relationships. Here is a food web from the wood:

 

 

 

For example you can see that, as well as feeding on ladybirds, blackbirds also eat caterpillars and woodbeetles. See whether you can work out which animal in the food web is being described by its feeding relationships here:

This animal eats caterpillars, woodbeetles and snails and is preyed on by the hawk.

 

Use the food web above to work out which animal this is.

CORRECT ANSWER
thrush
EDDIE SAYS
If you follow the arrows from the snail, the caterpillar and the woodbeetle you can see that they all go to the thrush which is then eaten by the hawk.
  • Question 8

Here is the food web again:

 

One food chain from this web we have already explored:

 

   
OAK LEAF   APHID (greenfly)   LADYBIRD   BLACKBIRD

 

What is the TOTAL number of food chains (including the one above) that you can find in the whole food web?

CORRECT ANSWER
6
EDDIE SAYS
If you count carefully you can see three going through the blackbird to the hawk and another three going through the thrush to the hawk - that's six in all.
  • Question 9

 

If an insecticide was sprayed on a nearby field but was blown by the wind into this oak tree, which organisms might be AFFECTED (note that word carefully!).

CORRECT ANSWER
tree, insects and birds
EDDIE SAYS
So, the insecticide is an insect-killer: that takes out the beetles, caterpillars, ladybirds and aphids. The birds would definitely be AFFECTED by this because their prey would almost disappear, so they'd need to move to a different part of the wood that hadn't been sprayed. The snails would not be affected, as they are not insects and they don't feed on them. The tree would have fewer animals feeding on it, so more leaves would appear without being scoffed!
  • Question 10

One further way of showing feeding relationships between organisms is to use a pyramid of numbers.

Look at this food pyramid from a field:

 

 

One of the organisms forms the foundation on which the pyramid is built and on which it depends. Which organism is that?

CORRECT ANSWER
producer
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that the producer makes ALL the energy that feeds the food chain? So then, it must be the foundation for the whole thing - that's why it is called a producer - it produces all the food (in a way, it produces the food chain itself!). Later on we'll explore the significance of the pyramid and why it takes so many plants to feed 10 rabbits.
---- OR ----

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