What is an Apex Predator?

Have you ever heard the term “apex predator” before? What do you think it means? Apex predators have a couple of different names that may help answer that question. Apex predators are also known as alpha predators or top predators. As the name suggests, these animals reside at the top of the food chain, with no natural predators of their own.

These predators can have a significant impact on entire ecosystems, but what exactly is it that they do? Apex predators can help regulate prey densities, as well as limit the number of smaller predators that are on the landscape. For example, if herbivore (think deer) densities go unchecked, they can often overgraze an area which can result in a decrease in biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Apex predators are an important component of maintaining the overall health and biodiversity of an ecosystem.

Apex predators can live on land, in the water, and in the skies above us. With that in mind, can you think of any apex predators that call Nevada home?

Denise Peterson

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