Animals that consume algae include fish, salamanders, newts, frogs and bacteria. Algae, a type of aquatic plant, provides food and nutrition for many creatures. It exists in marine habitats such as oceans and lakes, and appears in ponds, rivers and other freshwater environments.
Algae supplies some animals with food throughout their lives, but feeds others for a short period of time. Frogs and salamanders, for instance, consume algae only when young, during the tadpole and larval stages of life. Algae feeds crustaceans such as crayfish and snails, and provides nutrition to several species of fish, numerous aquatic insects and microorganisms. Instead of existing as individual plants, like most land species, algae exists in colonies. Colonies of algae form from individual plants that gather in clusters of eight to over 30 plants.
Some algae colonies remain for long periods of time, while others serve as transient units, dissipating as algae grow and leave. Some algae clusters float on watery surfaces, while others anchor to floors. Algae serves as a vital source of food for many marine organisms, and plays an important role in the marine food web. The organisms consuming algae serve as food for animals higher up the food chain. The transfer of food and energy through the food web ultimately sustains marine life.