How to Design a Food Web: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Design a Food Web: 11 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Design a Food Web: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

Drawing a food web is a cool way to study the relationship of organisms and animals and their respective habitats. While the food chain shows how ecosystems work in a linear fashion, the web is a more visual alternative - one that brings various agents linked together. To do this, you can start by listing the primary producers, herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores in the habitat you want to study. Then connect them with arrows that indicate the relationship between predator and prey. The final product will have a geometric look (hence the name "web").


Part 1 of 3: Organizing the web

Draw a Food Web Step 1

Step 1. Choose a specific habitat

Since it's impossible to list all the animals and organisms that exist on Earth, you need to choose a specific habitat for the web. If necessary, ask the teacher for tips or think about a choice parameter, such as the ecosystem in the region where you live.

For example, if you want to explore a larger habitat, you can make the food web from aquatic or desert spaces. On the other hand, it is easier to think of delimited regions, such as a forest that is close to your city

Draw a Food Web Step 2

Step 2. Make a list of the organisms that live in this habitat

Grab a notebook and think of a list of all the organisms you know live in your chosen habitat-from micro-organisms to plants. If necessary, consult a biology textbook or do an internet search.

  • The list need not include all creatures that live in the habitat. For example, if you only have 30 minutes to make the web, set aside only five minutes to build this initial list.
  • If you chose a desert region, list lizards, cacti and spiders.
Draw a Food Web Step 3

Step 3. Use a large sheet of paper to make the web

As the food web is not linear, you will need a lot of space (depending on how many animals you want to include). So use a sheet of paper on which you can write the names or draw the organisms. If you like, use images from the internet.

If you run out of space on the sheet, you can also decrease the font size or even continue drawing in the back

Draw a Food Web Step 4

Step 4. Give the food web a title

Write the title in big letters on top of the food web. Think of something that describes the design well and, if possible, include the name of the habitat you will represent.

For example: "Desert food web", "Ocean life cycle" or "Rainforest food web"

Draw a Food Web Step 5

Step 5. Decide how you want to represent web agents

Use a uniform identification system: names and descriptions, drawings or a mixed form. You can include illustrations, but it will take a little longer. If you want something simpler, write down the scientific name of each organism.

For example, note the scientific name of the maned wolf on the web (Chrysocyon brachyurus)

Part 2 of 3: Getting Started with Web Mapping

Draw a Food Web Step 6

Step 1. Put all producers on paper

Primary producers are organisms that create their own food through processes such as photo and chemosynthesis. Therefore, they form the basis of the entire food chain and web. Distribute them on the sheet evenly spaced.

  • For example, if you are going to draw the food web of a desert environment, include cacti as producers - after all, they survive through photosynthesis, in which they convert the sun's rays into energy.
  • The primary producers of ecosystems are also called autotrophs.
  • Some people like to put primary producers at the bottom of the page to represent the "base" of the web, but this is optional. You can draw them wherever you like, as long as there's space.
Draw a Food Web Step 7

Step 2. Put primary consumers on paper

This is the next step in the food web. Primary consumers are creatures that feed on producers. They are always herbivores, that is, they consume plants. Think of several examples pertinent to the web.

  • Look at the initial list of organisms to identify potential primary consumers. You might also ponder the following: "Which creature would eat the producers I listed?"
  • For example: in the food web of the desert environment, cacti and grass (farmers) would be eaten by locusts (primary consumer).
  • Since the food web has no "list" form, the exact arrangement of each group of organisms is not all that important. Just leave a space between them for the arrows.
Draw a Food Web Step 8

Step 3. Add secondary consumers

There are carnivorous and omnivorous animals. Consult the list and separate some of them as secondary consumers.

For example, in the desert web, a rat could be a secondary consumer, as it can eat both grass and grasshopper

Part 3 of 3: Including the Final Food Web Details

Draw a Food Web Step 9

Step 1. Include tertiary and related consumers

Tertiary consumers prey on secondary, primary and producers. They may not even eat organisms from all three categories, but they must at least eat secondary ones to be considered tertiary. Also, you can add animals that prey on tertiaries and so on.

  • You can add as many levels as you like to the food web. Animals that are the ultimate predators - almost always carnivores - are considered the web's alpha predators (also called "superpredators").
  • For example: in the desert web, a snake could be a tertiary consumer, as it eats rats. A hawk, in turn, could be the quaternary consumer.
  • If you want to make the web in the shape of a pyramid, start with producers on one side of the page and end with predators on the other.
Draw a Food Web Step 10

Step 2. Add detritivores or decomposers to make the web more complex

These creatures consume the dead organisms and thus end the energy transfer cycle. Detritivores (also called scavengers or scavengers), such as earthworms, eat dead animals. Decomposers, like bacteria, help to break down the carcass.

  • Decomposers work at a microscopic level and are often invisible to the naked eye. However, they are still an essential part of the food web.
  • You can place these organisms anywhere on the sheet.
Draw a Food Web Step 11

Step 3. Draw arrows between organisms to indicate energy transfer

It is in this part that the food web takes the form of a web itself. Draw several arrows to connect predators and prey, the ends of which must point towards the consuming animal. Also, each organism or creature in the web can be linked by multiple arrows at once.

  • For example: in the desert food web, start with an arrow going from grass to grasshopper; then do another one by going from grass to rats.
  • This is the main difference between a web and a food chain: the food web is more chaotic, as it shows multiple arrows in different directions and is not linear.
  • You can also make arrows of different colors into a larger web. For example: draw green arrows to link plants eaten by animals and red arrows to link animals eaten by other animals.
  • If you're going to draw the food web on your computer, use the shape tool to make the arrows.


Not every food web looks alike. Yours may be unique depending on the animals or organisms you want to show


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