How to Draw a Food Web
Creating a food web is a great way to learn more about how organisms and animals live in their habitats. While a food chain shows how ecosystems function in a linear way, a food web is a more visual approach with multiple animals connected to one another. To create your food web, write out the primary producers, herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores for your chosen habitat. Connect them with arrows showing both predator and pretty. Your final product will look like an actual web or map.
Setting up Your Web
Choose a particular food web habitat.It’s just not possible to list out all animals or organisms around the world, so focusing on one type of habitat can be helpful. Your teacher might assign you a particular habitat. Otherwise, you could select a natural spot near your hometown, such as a lake or field.
- For example, for a broader habitat, you might decide to focus on aquatic or desert spaces. Narrowing down your habitat by location, such as the Santa Fe desert, can make it even easier to construct a food web.
Write down a list of organisms in your habitat.Get out a pad of paper and brainstorm a list of every organism that you can think of that lives in your chosen habitat. Include everything from large to small creatures and even plants. It might be helpful to look at a science book focusing on your particular habitat.
- It’s okay if your list doesn’t include every creature to live in your habitat. For example, if you have 30 minutes to create your food web, only spend 5 minutes maximum creating this initial list.
- If you are studying the desert, you might list out lizards, cacti, and spiders.
Get a large piece of paper to create your web.Since food webs aren’t linear, they can require a great deal of space, depending on how many animals you include. Choose a piece of paper that will give you plenty of space for names and possibly even illustrations. You can also use a computer drawing program to create your web.
- If you run out of paper space while creating your web, you can also reduce the size of your font or even write on the back of the page, too.
Title your food web.At the top of your food web, write out your title in large font. Your title should be a good description of your entire web. Mentioning the type of habitat that you are studying is usually a good idea.
- For example, you might title your work, “A Desert Food Web.” You could also go with, “A Circle of Life in the Ocean,” or “A Jungle Food Web.”
Decide whether to label, illustrate, or do both for organisms.You want to use a single, uniform system of identification for your food web. You could include small illustrations, but they will take more time to produce. Otherwise, simply labeling the organism by its given or scientific name is fine.
- For example, a barn-owl in your chart could also be labeled by its scientific name, “Tytonidae.”
Mapping Out Your Initial Web
Put all of your producers on the page.A primary producer is an organism that creates its own food by processing sunlight or chemical energy. They are the building blocks of every food chain or web. Space out each producer, so that they are not touching one another on your page.
- For example, if you are drawing a food web of the desert, you might include cacti as a producer. It survives by using photosynthesis to convert sunlight to energy.
- Another name for primary producers is ecosystems is autotrophs.
- Some people like to put primary producers at the bottom of the page to create a visual “foundation” for their web. But, this isn’t necessary. You can put your producers anywhere on the page, as long as you leave some space between them.
Place your primary consumers on the page.This is the next stage of your food web. Primary consumers are creatures that feed and prey on producers. These are always plant-eaters, also known as herbivores. As you did with the producers, try to come up with multiple primary consumers.
- Look at your initial organism list to identify any possible primary consumers. You can also ask yourself, “Which creature would eat the producers I’ve listed?”
- For example, in a desert food web, the cacti and grass (both producers) could get eaten by grasshoppers (primary consumer).
- Because a food web isn’t supposed to resemble a list, the exact placement of each group of organisms isn’t as important as leaving enough room to draw arrows between them.
Add in your secondary consumers.These are animals that are either meat-eating carnivores or meat and plant-eating omnivores. Look over your list when selecting these creatures and then add them in the anywhere on your page.
- For example, in a desert food web, a rat could be a secondary consumer. It is an omnivore that could eat both the grass and grasshoppers.
Including the Final Web Details
Include your tertiary consumers and beyond.These are creatures that prey upon the secondary consumers, primary consumers, and producers. They might not eat animals from all 3 of these categories, but they must eat secondary consumers to be considered tertiary. Beyond that, you can add animals that prey upon tertiary consumers and so on.
- You can add as many levels or layers as you like to your food web. The animals that are the final predators, almost always carnivores, are considered the alpha predators of your web.
- For example, in a desert food web, a snake could be a tertiary consumer. It preys upon rats. A hawk could be a quaternary consumer, as it preys upon snakes.
- If you’d like your web to resemble more a pyramid design, you’ll want to start with producers on 1 side of the page and end with predators on the opposite end.
Create more complexity by adding in detritivores or decomposers.These are all creatures that feed upon dead organisms, thus completing the final chain of life and transfer of energy. A detritivore, such as a worm, actually eats deceased animals. A decomposer, such as bacteria, helps to fully break down the carcass of the dead creature.
- It’s important to note that decomposers usually complete work that is invisible to the naked eye. However, they are still a critical part of the food web system.
- These organisms can be placed anywhere on the page.
Draw arrows between organisms indicating the transfer of energy.This is when your web will really start to look like a web. Create a series of arrows connecting predator and prey. The arrow should start with the animal that is eaten and move to the animal that does the eating. Each animal or organism can have multiple arrows beginning or ending from it.
- For example, in a desert food web, you’d start 1 arrow at the grass and connect it to the grasshoppers. You’d start another arrow at the grass and connect it to the rats, too.
- This is a primary difference between a food web and a food chain. A food web is a bit more chaotic in that it can show multiple different arrows between creatures. Your final web will not be linear.
- You can also color-code the arrows in a larger web. For example, color plant-eaten-by-animal arrows green and animal-eaten-by-animal arrows red.
- If you are drawing your food web digitally, then you may need to use a “shape” tool to create arrows.
QuestionDon't you need pictures sometimes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, you don't have to put pictures in it as long as the arrows or the diagram is neatly written. Pictures can help make your web look nicer though.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are secondary consumers?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe first animal to eat the producer in a food chain (not web) is usually an herbivore because it eats the producer (plants), the secondary consumer is a carnivore because it eats the primary consumer (the animal).Thanks!
QuestionHow can I draw a food web with three food chains?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFor a food web with multiple food chains, all you have to do is put all the producers at the bottom, all the primary consumers second etc.Thanks!
QuestionHow would I make a food web for pizza?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPizza isn't a living thing, so it wouldn't appear in a biological food web as it is. However, you could make a fake, funny, or pretend food web that includes pizza. You could also create food webs including some of the animals that supply ingredients for pizza. For example, you could draw a food web including a pig, as pork is used to make pepperoni and sausage.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you draw a food web with four food chains coming from it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis would be done the same way as with two or three or any number. They are all done the same.Thanks!
QuestionWhere are the decomposers in this food web?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere are none. If you do have decomposers in your food web, you can just include them on the side.Thanks!
QuestionIf the sun is the main source for the producer, where should I put the sun in the food web?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should put it on the bottom, because it will make it more neat. You could also put it with the producers, if you won't lose any points.Thanks!
QuestionDo I put the sun at the top or bottom?Robin SagerCommunity AnswerUnlike a food chain or pyramid, you can place your sun anywhere on the page. The key is to make the connections between the sun and the animals or organisms. If you are trying to recreate an exact environment on your page, then placing the sun at the top would obviously be best.Thanks!
QuestionDo you put dirt if something eats dirt?Robin SagerCommunity AnswerGenerally, you want to only include living organisms and animals within your food web. However, you could include dirt by adding in a listing for bacteria. Dirt contains bacteria, so you could add arrows to show that certain animals are broken down by bacteria, but eat bacteria as well via dirt.Thanks!
QuestionDo we have to include an exact number of producers in the web?Robin SagerCommunity AnswerNo, there is no exact number requirement for producers or any other part of a food web. Generally, it's a good idea to include as many producers as you can think of for a particular environment. The more producers that you include, the more connections you can create.Thanks!
Video: Food Web
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