Apex predators (also known as alpha, super, top- or top-level predators) are predators with no predators of their own, residing at the top of their food chain. Zoologists define predation as the killing and consumption of another organism (which generally excludes parasites and most bacteria). In this context, "apex predator" is usually defined in terms of trophic dynamics. Apex predator species occupy the highest trophic level(s) and have a crucial role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems. One study of marine food webs defined apex predators as greater than trophic level four. The apex predator concept is commonly applied in wildlife management, conservation, and ecotourism.
Food chains are often far shorter on land, with the top of the food chain limited to the third trophic level, as where such predators as the big cats, crocodilians, hyenas, wolves, or giant constrictor snakes prey upon large herbivores. Apex predators need not be hypercarnivores. For example, grizzly bears and humans are each apex predators and are omnivores.
A dog, less omnivorous than either humans or most bears, is usually more of a scavenger than a predator, but as an occasional killer of livestock or wildlife and a participant in some human hunts it qualifies as a superpredator. An apex predator can be defined as being too difficult to kill for them to be a regular source of food for other predators. Some animals may be superpredators in some environments but not others, such as domestic dogs and cats, both of which can ravage ecosystems.
A group of cold-blooded vertebrates that includes frogs, salamanders and caecilians (wormlike amphibians). They do not possess any scales, feathers, or hair and will often have moist permeable skin making them susceptible to environmental changes; because of this they are considered indicators of ecosystem health. Many species of amphibians can survive both on land and in the water, which is where most lay their eggs. Their larvae go through a developmental process known as metamorphosis, which may be quite complex. As they mature to adulthood they will often move to land. Scientists believe that proto-amphibians were the first vertebrate animals to leave water and become terrestrial.
a female that is not sexually receptive or experiencing an estrus cycle
absence or suppression of menstruation (ovulation)
also: altruistic behavior non-beneficial or disadvantageous behavior to an individual that serves to benefit others of a species
also: alloparenting, alloparental, alloparental care, allomother, allomothering any individual other than the parent that assists in the care of dependent young, the individual may or may not be genetically related to the young
also: agonistically, agonism pertaining to a range of fighting or competitive behaviors between members of the same species, including attack, threat, appeasement/conciliation, or retreat/flight; regarding aggressive encounters including offensive attacks as well as defensive fighting
Africa's Great Lakes
situated in East Africa in the Great Rift Valley at the borders of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya and stretching into Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, these are the largest lakes in Africa and include Lakes Tanganyika, Victoria, Albert, Turkana, and Nyasa
an intermediate primate group type between single-and multi-male, in which there are fewer males per female than in true multi-male groups, and a linear dominance hierarchy operates among males that corresponds to age (Parnell 2002)
also: affiliative a form of social behavior involving an individual animal's tendency to approach, interact with, and remain near another individual in the social group
the state of not ovulating
a behaviour in which a female other than an infant's mother assists the parent in infant care; aunts may carry or defend the infant
area around the anus and genitals
the most important or most dominant individual in a group to which all others are submissive, the second most dominant is often labeled
characterized by a natural liking for or attraction to
a member of the suborder Anthropoidea which includes monkeys and apes, including humans
precipitation with a high concentration of acids from pollutants (such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide) that are emitted during the burning of fossil fuels in industry or vehicles; acid rain has a destructive effect on plant and animal life and buildings
of the southern hemisphere
adapted to life in the trees
a member of the phylum Arthropoda; an invertebrate with a segmented body and jointed appendages (includes insects, arachnids, crustaceans).