Apex predator – Definition & Meaning

The term “apex predator” is commonly used in the field of biology and ecology. It refers to the top predator in a food chain or food web, which is not preyed upon by any other animal in the ecosystem. Apex predators are crucial to maintaining the balance of an ecosystem, as they help to control the population of other animals in the food chain.


An apex predator is defined as a predator that occupies the highest trophic level in an ecosystem. It is also known as a top predator, alpha predator, or super predator. Apex predators are typically carnivorous animals that hunt and kill other animals for food.


The term “apex predator” originated in the field of ecology and was first used in scientific literature in the 1970s. The concept of apex predators has been studied extensively in the field of ecology, as scientists have sought to understand the role that these animals play in maintaining the balance of ecosystems.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The meaning of apex predator is consistent across different dictionaries. It is defined as the top predator in an ecosystem that is not preyed upon by any other animal. The term is often used in the context of food chains and food webs.


Apex predators are associated with the concept of trophic cascades, which refers to the impact that the removal or addition of an apex predator can have on an ecosystem. They are also associated with the idea of keystone species, which are species that have a disproportionate impact on the ecosystem relative to their abundance.


The synonyms of apex predator include top predator, alpha predator, super predator, and king predator.


The antonyms of apex predator are prey, herbivore, and detritivore.

The same root words

The root words of apex predator are “apex” and “predator.” Apex refers to the highest point or pinnacle, while predator refers to an animal that hunts and kills other animals for food.

Example Sentences

  1. The lion is considered to be the apex predator in the African savanna.
  2. The removal of wolves from Yellowstone National Park had a significant impact on the ecosystem, as they were the apex predator.
  3. The great white shark is one of the most well-known apex predators in the ocean.
  4. The presence of an apex predator like the tiger helps to regulate the population of other animals in the forest.
  5. The loss of apex predators can have cascading effects on the entire ecosystem, leading to changes in the abundance and behavior of other species.
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