What Is a Second Level Consumer?

In a food chain, a second-level consumer is an organism that eats a first-level or primary-level consumer. For example, in a grassland biome, a snake is a second-level consumer that eats a primary-level consumer such as a rabbit. While a second-level consumer is a carnivorous or omnivorous animal, a first-level consumer is an herbivore.

The food chain consists of organisms that are producers, consumers or decomposers. Producers are plants that utilize light energy to produce food. A consumer is the next level on the food chain, but consumers come in different, including first, second, tertiary and quaternary. Examples of tertiary and quaternary consumers are an owl and hawk, respectively. The owl eats the snake, and, in turn, the owl is a hawk’s prey.

The types of animals that make up the consumer levels in a food chain will depend on the biome in which they live. For example, in an ocean biome, a fish is a secondary consumer that eats zooplankton, a primary consumer.

The last trophic level consists of decomposers. These are organisms, such as bacteria, worms and fungi, that eat or break down dead matter. Different types of ecosystems have different types of decomposers. For example, decomposers in a desert ecosystem can include beetles and millipedes. In a forest ecosystem, fungi are one of the main decomposers.