apex predator

noun

ecology
: a predator at the top of a food chain that is not preyed upon by any other animal
The archipelago also harbors some of the highest densities in the world of so-called apex predators, the sharks, groupers and jacks who have no natural predators of their own but whose numbers have been depleted elsewhere by fishermen. Christopher Pala, New York Times, 19 Dec. 2006
As apex predators, brown bears are secure throughout most of their range, but habitat loss not only threatens populations, but has led to an increase in human/bear encounters. Ryan Elswick, Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) Sun-News, 18 Oct. 2001

Word History

First Known Use

1977, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apex predator was in 1977

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Cite this Entry

“Apex predator.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apex%20predator. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

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