The Royal Horticultural Society talks about the ‘food web’

The Royal Horticultural Society talks about the ‘food web’.  Image: Anne Coatesy /

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) confirm a food web is the interplay of different food chains, each made up of a sequence of ‘what eats what’.

An example of a simple food chain is nasturtium-blackfly-ladybird-swallow, where each link in the chain eats the one before it. But of course, there are many other things which for instance eat blackfly, which takes us into other food chains, hence the concept of a bigger ‘food web’.

Sometimes species are grouped together by how they feed into what are called ‘functional groups’.

There are four primary groups; herbivores (these eat living plants), predators (these eat other creatures), detritivores (these feed on decomposing material, of plant or animal origin; animals that eat fungi and algal growths are often included in this group) and omnivores (these feed on both plants and animals).

In a garden with a healthy ecosystem, all of these groups will be well represented.

To enjoy sharing our gardens with wildlife further up the food chain, such as hedgehogs and robins, it’s important to remember that they need a plentiful supply of beetles, caterpillars, earthworms, etc.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.