Super predators: the list and characteristics

Super predators: the list and characteristics

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With the termsuper predatorin zoology that predator is identified which in its natural habitat is at the top of thefood chain.

We have already talked aboutsuper predatorsin the article dedicated to the strongest animal in the world. Today we will try to go into more detail: what is a super predator and what predatory animals are labeled with the prefixsuper.

The list of super predators: which are the alpha predatory animals, placed at the top of the food chain of their natural habitat.

Super predators or alpha predators

THEsuper predatorsthey are often called alpha predators or dominant predator. Aalpha predatoronce an adult, he is at the top of the food chain in his natural home environment.

THEsuper predatorsthey are generallycarnivores and, in their natural habitat, they do not fear any species, except for humans!

Man, thanks to weapons and his technologies, is considered thealpha predatorof the planet. It can live anywhere and subdue any other living species using weapons and technologies. It is no coincidence that man is at the top of the global food chain. Before reaching the apex of the food chain, man fought against others for centuries super predatorsespecially from packs such as wolves, birds of prey and lynxes.

Thepredatory animalsat the top of the food chain generally have a long evolutionary history that dates back at least to the Cambrian period, when animals such asanomalocaride (Anomalocaris) ruled the seas.

What are the super predators?

There are many super predators in the animal kingdom because each alpha predator dominates a certain natural range. Among the mammals we point out these super predators:

  • Wolf
  • Hyena
  • Brown bear
  • Polar bear
  • Tiger
  • Lion
  • Jaguar
  • Leopard
  • Puma
  • Cheetah
  • Lynx

As can be seen from the list, most of thealpha predatorsmentioned are big cats. Only the Wolf and the Hyena are predatory pack animals.

Super predators in the seas and oceans

The super predator of the oceans is notWhite shark. Although the white shark is considered a fearsome predator for its keen senses, the main predator of the oceans is thekiller whale. The killer whale has proven toalso prey on the shark.

The killer whale (Orcinus orca) is at the top of its food chain. The striking news is that it is a cosmopolitan species that can be found in the oceans as well as in different marine environments: from arctic to antarctic regions, from tropical seas to temperate regions. In practice, the killer whale is asuper predatorwhich excels in many areas! Despite its strength, the killer whale is now considered endangered due to pollution and fishing.

Nowadays, interactions betweenman and super predatorshowever, attempts to breed orcas in captivity have given rise to unpleasant surprises: the killer whales, kept in captivity in marine parks, have injured or even killed the handlers!

Predatory animals: reptiles

Worldwide, reptiles can occupy prominent niches. Among the super predators we point out:

  • Marine crocodile
  • Nile crocodile
  • American crocodile
  • Mississippi alligator
  • Black caiman
  • Green anaconda
  • Reticulated python
  • Moluro python
  • African rock python
  • Snapping turtle *
  • Alligator turtle *
  • Komodo dragon or giant lizard

* In Italy, its possession and sale is prohibited as it is considered dangerous for aquatic habitats and for safety and public health.

Predatory birds

There aresuper predatorseven in the skies. Thepredatory birdspar excellence are the birds of prey. The main super predators are found among eagles.

Without forgetting thesnowy owl and the goshawk, called the "lord of the forest".

Intra-species predation

Thepredatory animals they are generally a lotterritorial, this means that they can becomepredators of their own kind. Taking the lion as an example, in its natural habitat, as soon as the adult lion becomes the leader of the pack, it kills all the cubs and mates with the females to ensure maximum reproduction.

Some super predators can kill individuals of the same species that do not submit. In addition, it is necessary to specify that super predators are such only in adulthood. A baby killer whale can easily be devoured by a shark!

In addition, the super predators (including humans) become important bioaccumulators of pollutants, especially heavy metals.

Prehistoric super predators

Among the firstpredatory animalsof history we point out, again, the anomalocaris. These are small marine animals that in the Cambrian, dominated the seas. On land they took turns in the role ofsuprapredatorsfirst the giant arthropods (Artheropleura, imagine them as large insects even 2 - 3 meters long) and then the carnivorous amphibians and synapsids (imagine them as giant chameleons!).

Among the prehistoric super predators it is impossible not to mention thedinosaurs. Among the carnivorous dinosaurs, depending on the era and the places colonized, we remember the tyrannosaurus, the spinosaurus, the gigantosaurus and the utahraptor.

In the image above, wolves attack a large bison in packs.

Video: Greatest Big Cats - Most Deadly Apex Predators on Earth Nat Geo (May 2022).