Top Food Web
Energy in the form of carbon, produced by phytoplankton and passed on through creatures like zooplankton, jellyfish, blue crabs, and menhaden eventually flows to the carnivorous marine fish at the top of the food web.
Bay fish species such as croaker, hogchoker, spot, white perch, and catfish feed primarily on bottom-dwellers of the middle food web like polychaete worms, clams, and crabs. But even at the top, these fish can become prey. Larger fish like bluefish, weakfish, summer flounder, and striped bass may consume them, especially when the big fish can’t find their preferred prey, menhaden and bay anchovy.
And the energy flow does not always stop with these fish. Throughout the Chesapeake, commercial and recreational fishermen target many of these species — making the humans who eat them the ultimate predator.