The queen of trees work


The Queen of Trees

This video shows the intimate relationships within a community of organisms in an African savannah ecosystem. Your task is to complete the questions and map out the connections among the various organisms within the community. You should indicate the trophic level to which the organism belongs, its relationship to the Queen and any other direct relationships to other organisms in the community. The connections within the community should be illustrated. The figure on page 3 of this handout gives an example of how to illustrate those connections. The arrow tips point in the directions of where the energy is flowing.  For example, the fruit bats feed on the fruit of the fig tree so the arrow is a one-way directions towards the bats. 

To submit this quiz: download the template, as you watch the video complete the table below, complete the questions on page 3, and complete the construction of your food web illustrating the connections listed in the table and then upload your document. 

If you do not know how to construct the food web electronically, you may draw your food web, scan a digital image (or take a photo) of the food web and submit it. 

Trophic levels: The position that an organisms occupies in a food chain. It shows the flow of energy through an ecosystem. Energy is always lost from one trophic level to the next.

· Producers – autotrophic organisms using solar or chemical energy to produce all the organic nutrients for an ecosystem.

· Consumers – heterotrophic organisms that cannot make their own food. They get energy from the chemical bonds in the nutrients they eat.

· Primary consumers (herbivores) – eat primary producers (plants).

o Conversion efficiency: only 10 to 20 percent of the available energy passes from producers to primary consumers. 

· Secondary consumers (carnivores) – eat primary consumers (herbivores).

o Conversion efficiency: only 5 to 10 percent of the available energy passes from primary consumers to secondary consumers. 

· Tertiary consumers (carnivores) – eat secondary consumers (carnivores).

o The conversion efficiency for tertiary consumers may be as low as 1%. 

· Omnivores – eat both plants and animals.

· Decomposers – break down dead tissues and wastes.

Table 1 – Relationships and trophic levels



Trophic Level

Connections   with the Queen/community


Sycamore   Fig Tree

Primary   producer


Fig   wasp


Grey   Horn Bill

Secondary   consumer

Uses   the Queen as a nesting site, consumes insects that prey on queen






Fig   Cadidid


Pink   Mantis


Vinegar   Flies


Parasitic   Nematodes




Hilda   bug nymphs




Fig   Cicadas












Tiger   beetles




Seed   bugs


Fruit   bats

Primary   consumers

Seed   dispersal for the Queen


How does the Queen protect herself from predation?

What do the ants provide for the Queen?

What do the ants get in return for their service to the Queen?

What interesting behavior did the Fig cicadas display? What is the ultimate causation of this behavior?

What service do the fig wasps provide for the Queen?

How does the Queen provide payment for the service by the fig wasps?

What happened to the second horn bill chick?

How does the gecko protect itself from being consumed by the snake?

How did the humans gather honey?

The behavior the bees displayed as the humans gathered the honey is an example of proximate or ultimate causation?


Fruit bats

Example food web

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