Top Ten "Keystone Species"Keystone species are species that within their own ecosystems are irreplaceable, or so it is argued. Nothing else within their ecosystem can fill the void were this species to go extinct. They are considered essential to keeping the biodiversity of any given ecosystem in balance. Take these species out of their particular ecosystems, and the system would suffer, fail or quite possibly collapse. Give these species their proper respect, they are carrying a lot of responsibility. They are not necessarily the top predator within a particular ecosystem, but that is oftentimes the case, as these species tend to keep prey animals numbers in check, and therefore keep the whole system in balance. The wonder of nature's self regulating is personified in these species. Feel free to add any that you believe to be a keystone to their ecosystems.
These guys clearly love to play in their spare time, kinda funny to watch em play. So is that their keystone contribution, comedic relief? No, but most would agree that's a nice aside.
Sea otters prey on sea urchins. In turn, sea urchins feed on kelp forests. Left unchecked, sea urchins can decimate kelp forests, and this has a negative impact on many creatures that rely on the kelp for survival. The whole ecosystem suffers, or fails. Thanks sea otters.
Beavers are ecosystem engineers, and their dam building provides still water, which allows a host of other species to flourish.
Yes, as apex predators these guys provide balance to the population of prey species within their ecosystems. Thanks 4 adding.
Beautiful and intelligent creatures. Consider yourself lucky if you spot one while kayaking!
Wired to take out the weak, sick, young and elderly, it's commonly known that these guys actually help ensure the overall health of their prey species. Apex predators tend to keep the balance in their ecosystems through this same behavior.
Now, it's true this branch of predators is the bane of farmers of livestock in their ecosystem, as they do indeed take the easy meal sometimes provided by this interaction. To that point, I would simply say that it is us who have encroached on their ecosystem, and not the other way around.
They are also responsible for regulating deer populations. When deer are overpopulated, they tend to destroy natural fauna, preventing birds and other animals living in it – which is why predators such as wolves mark as a significant animal in the keystone species.
Pollinators. The plants flourish and provide shelter and food for insects, and they in turn become food for other creatures, including birds.
The bee/plant relationship is also highly symbiotic, mutually assured existence.
The bee population is sadly in decline, mostly due to all the chemicals us humans use in our fields.
Another apex predator. In the rainforests of Central and South America, they prey on a wide variety of species (87), and keep those prey animals numbers in check.
Thanks for adding.
On the savannahs of Africa, these magnificent creatures graze on small trees. This allows sunlight to reach the grass below. The grasslands flourish, and provide an essential food source for a myriad of animals, and in turn, provides cover for predators stalking these herds. Without the elephants (and other tree leaf munchers) the savannah would become a forest or scrublands.
They pass down nectar
The American Alligator digs burrows in the sand that provide them with warmth, when they leave, the burrow provides many a species with a new home. The alligators also are an apex predator, and keep prey animals numbers in check.
Starfish eat mussels, who have no other natural predators. Without the starfish, the mussels would overwhelm their particular ecosystem and many other species would suffer, or die off.
In areas where boating in fresh water lakes is popular, it's important that boaters check their watercrafts for these mussels before and after each launch, as the mussels attach and spread to other bodies of water. The result is devastating, as there are no starfish to prey on the mussels. Mussels are often times an invasive species.
They eat yucky ants
They eat yucky ants
The Salmon die after spawning, and provide a feast for many other creatures, including bears and eagles.
They'll eat almost anything, including sea turtles and dugongs in the Western Australian seagrass beds. Take them out of that ecosystem and the seagrass gets over grazed. Fish lay their eggs in the seagrass. More sea turtles and dugongs = less fish, and less prey for other species.
Whoa. That guy means business. Thanks for adding