What Is the Food Chain in the Tundra?

The food chain in the tundra consists of carnivores, herbivores and insects. Carnivores, because they are meat eaters, are at the top of the tundra food chain. Insects are at the bottom of the food chain, and herbivores fall in the middle of the chain.

At the top of the food chain in the tundra are polar bears. Not only do they eat meat, but they eat other carnivores, such as seals. Other carnivores in this cold region include wolves, foxes, grizzly bears, owls and migratory birds during certain types of the year. These animals seek out rich, fatty meats to eat so that they can gain enough weight to survive cold, harsh tundra winters.

Herbivores are below carnivores on the food chain. Caribou, arctic hares, lemmings and voles are all plant eaters that live in the tundra. Their strong sense of smell allows them to find vegetation to consume even in deep snow and ice. These herbivores become meals for the larger carnivores.

At the bottom of the food chain are arctic insects. Mosquitoes, bees, moths, grasshoppers and black flies survive in the tundra in the summer months. Many birds feed on insects during warmer times, when the bugs are plentiful. When the weather turns cold again, insects either migrate or die off.