Food chains

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Anybody have a sophisticated explanation of how food chains work? I was under the impression that some organism eats some other organism and derives some nutritional benefit (not merely, energetic, but nutritional). This latter organism is then consumed by another organism who, in turn, derives nutritional benefit from the consumed organism. Some of this latter benefit is solely energetic (ie caloric), and some is nutritional based upon what nutrients the consumed organism has itself been consuming.

For instance, an insectivorous bird might derive its distinctive color because the insects it consumes contain pigments derived from the leaves these insects feed upon. While the birds cannot themselves eat or digest these leaves, the insects they consume can. And because the insects process what would otherwise be indigestible leaf-matter into usable nutrients, the birds are able to access these nutrients because the insects have transformed them into a usable source by their digestive processes.


Isn’t this sort of how food chains work?
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
To add to this, we assume big cats get their retinol from the animals they consume, right? Since they mainly consume herbivores, these herbivores must be consuming large amounts of retinol precursors such as beta-carotene, then doing the conversion to retinol—which is then accessed by the (eg) lions that eat them. In this instance the flow of nutrients is BETA-CAROTENE (from plants) to HERBIVORE concerted to RETINOL then to LION. Right?

Of course this is a highly simplified story, but this is how this ignorant peon understands food chains and the flow of energy/nutrients. Am I woefully errant? Sincerely, do I have thing fundamentally wrong here?
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is a bit of a chicken or egg question. Domestic cats can't make the amino acid taurine. Their wild ancestors didn't need to because they got lot of it from their raw meat whole animal diet. There was no reason for their body to produce it and so the function was lost and now it is an essential amino acid. Now it is added to to cat food or they develop heart issues. (I'm not recommending raw diets for cats, the risks out weigh the benefits IMO.)
Evolution selects what is necessary to survive in an ecological niche.
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
Could you explain a bit more about the distinction between ‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’?
They eiter feednin simethjng bexause rhey need mass, means energy
Or they feed on something nutritious that they are soexifixally for
Butnit makes nk dofference in the defjnition
 

Bigsky

Established Member
Grass is mostly cellulose, which we cannot digest. Cattle eat grass, and because they are ruminants, have bacteria that can digest cellulose. Cattle can digest the bacteria or byproducts, and therefore can grow and produce beefsteak which we can eat. This is one simplified example of how systems work. For information on how energy is obtained, look for Krebs Cycle.
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
This is a bit of a chicken or egg question. Domestic cats can't make the amino acid taurine. Their wild ancestors didn't need to because they got lot of it from their raw meat whole animal diet. There was no reason for their body to produce it and so the function was lost and now it is an essential amino acid. Now it is added to to cat food or they develop heart issues. (I'm not recommending raw diets for cats, the risks out weigh the benefits IMO.)
Evolution selects what is necessary to survive in an ecological niche.
I am sorry, the whole example is sort of right in the comclusions but extremely imprecise in wording and justifications. Nonoffense, as is, itnis ssiply not true
No function was lost
It is nit easential aminoacid now
Raw diet for cats is comfusing
Evolution does
Not select anything...
I do
Not want to be an ass but the post is really very misleading
 

PetNcs

Chameleon Enthusiast
Grass is mostly cellulose, which we cannot digest. Cattle eat grass, and because they are ruminants, have bacteria that can digest cellulose. Cattle can digest the bacteria or byproducts, and therefore can grow and produce beefsteak which we can eat. This is one simplified example of how systems work. For information on how energy is obtained, look for Krebs Cycle.
What relation does this have to food chain?
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sounds like an anology to a chameleon eating a cricket that digests its stomach content that the chameleon can't then the veiled eating the cricket....sort of.
Hmm...that seems like a promising avenue for further research. So the idea is that the insects upon which our chameleons feed might make a nutritional contribution to the chameleon based on what those insects eat.
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
I wish there was information about the diet of wild chameleons, so we could extrapolate a rough view of what nutrients our chameleons might be getting from their wild fare.
 

DocZ

Avid Member
I wish there was information about the diet of wild chameleons, so we could extrapolate a rough view of what nutrients our chameleons might be getting from their wild fare.
I asked about this with @PetNcs this week. There is some stomach content data for some chameleons, but it represents only a small sample of the species of chameleons available and there is no studies looking at the nutritional value of the wild insects endemic to where our animals live

I’ve read a little and wondered, and heard others mention, if UVB may be necessary for our feeders as well.

You have a diurnal animal eating diurnal insects in the wild. I’ve seen studies showing increased D3 within commonly available insects exposed to UVB. It could be that some of a chameleons D3 supply actually comes from wild insects synthesizing D3 due to sun exposure
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
I asked about this with @PetNcs this week. There is some stomach content data for some chameleons, but it represents only a small sample of the species of chameleons available and there is no studies looking at the nutritional value of the wild insects endemic to where our animals live

I’ve read a little and wondered, and heard others mention, if UVB may be necessary for our feeders as well.

You have a diurnal animal eating diurnal insects in the wild. I’ve seen studies showing increased D3 within commonly available insects exposed to UVB. It could be that some of a chameleons D3 supply actually comes from wild insects synthesizing D3 due to sun exposure
Interesting! I’ve read that some insects are capable of synthesizing d3, when exposed to uvb. Now that you mention it, I seem to recall five or so studies charting the percentages of various wild insects in several African species. I guess the next question is whether we can glean any nutritional information from the insects consumed.
 
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