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Parts of the Food Chain: Scavengers and Decomposers



Parts of the Food Chain: Scavengers and Decomposers

A Short Reader

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.11

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    carrion, decomposers, flesh, scavenger, link, vulture, important, smelly, dies, chain, feast, vital, return, ringing, consume, eggs


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Parts of the Food Chain: Scavengers and Decomposers
By Erin Horner
  

1     Scavengers and decomposers are important links in the food chain. They are like nature's trash trucks; they take care of the waste. No energy is ever wasted. When an animal dies, its body still contains the energy that it once consumed. Scavengers and decomposers help to make the most of that leftover energy. Let's look at an example. A turkey vulture is a scavenger. It eats carrion, or dead animals. When searching for food, the vulture uses his strong sense of smell. To this large bird, the smell of a rotting animal is like the ringing of a dinner bell. He swoops in and begins to feast. As he consumes the rotting (and stinky!) meal, he ingests the food energy that was previously stored in the dead animal.
 
2     Soon, another link in the food chain will step in as well -- the decomposers. Some insects are decomposers. They continue to break down the dead animal's remains. Flies, for example, lay their eggs in .....
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