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They are heterotrophic organisms which consume the food produced by the producers. They derive their nutrition by feeding on other living organisms. A consumer which derives nutrition by eating plants is called primary consumer or herbivore. The secondary consumer or carnivore is an animal that gets its nutrition by eating the flesh of herbivores or other animals’. The organisms which can feed on both plants and animals is called an omnivore.
Herbivores: these are called primary consumers or first order consumers which obtain their food directly from plants.
- Terrestrial herbivores- Deer, rabbit, mouse, goat cattle etc
- Aquatic herbivores- Crustaceans, protozoan.
Carnivores: Carnivores feed upon other animals. They have been classified as
- Secondary Consumers: They prey upon primary consumers or herbivores. E.g. frog, birds, fishes, jackal, fox, snakes.
- Tertiary consumers: Carnivores e.g. owl, peacock, lion, tiger etc. Carnivores like lion, tiger etc. which cannot be preyed upon further are called top carnivores and their number is generally low compared to the lower biotic levels of an ecosystem.