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There are some species who sometimes eat their own kinds. Is this cannibalism considered their regular food? Do the link in food-chain for those animals make a loop on themselves?

Can this statement: "Food chains are found within the population of a species." be held true?

Disclosure: The above statement was part of a question that asked to identify the correct among statements. I tried to find relevant content in books and internet but couldn't find any. I'm not trying to get my assignment solved, but I want opinion on cannibalism and it's impact on food chains.

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    $\begingroup$ A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web (wiki). If you consider species as the nodes of the network, cannibalism could be represented as an edge that connects the species whit itself. This makes the network non-linear, So I suggest to used food web instead of food chain I think your statement can be true if you consider individuals of a given cannibalistic species as the nodes of your network. $\endgroup$ – heracho Apr 10 at 16:56
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Cannibalism can be found across most animal groups. For some groups of organisms (e.g., spiders, fishes) cannibalism can be common within a single generation. Sometimes it will be between siblings, but more often with other members of their species.

As @heracho pointed out, from a network/food web/flow-diagram perspective, yes, cannibalism is repressed as a negative feedback loop on itself.

Evaluating the statement: "Food chains are found within the population of a species," I interpret is as, within species, there are subgroups that consume subgroups, that consume subgroups. You'd need at least 3 levels for it to be considered a chain (i.e., you don't have a chain with two species/a single link). Cannibalism would be a single link/two species, and not considered a chain. As to whether or not chains exist within a species, I suspect it is not common if it exists at all. If it did, I would guess it'd be found in a group like fishes where prey are often size dependent.

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