Microscopy techniques play a crucial role in many Biology Topics, allowing for detailed observations of cells and tissues.
Adaptation – Meaning, Plant & Animal Adaptations
There are many different kinds of habitats having entirely different environmental conditions such as temperature and amount of water. Different kinds of plants and animals live in different habitats (or places). For example, desert is a habitat. The desert habitat is very hot during daytime and very cold at night. The desert habitat has very little water available in it.
The plants and animals which live in desert have developed some specific features in their bodies due to which they can survive in hot and dry conditions present there. Only the plants like cactus and animals like camel can survive easily in the desert because changes have taken place in their body structure over a long period of time which help them to survive in hot desert having little water only.
Let us now take the example of the ocean (or sea) habitat. In the ocean habitat, the plants and animals are surrounded by saline water (salty water). Most of the plants and animals which live in the ocean use oxygen dissolved in water for breathing.
Only the animals like marine fish (sea-fish) and other such creatures can survive in an ocean habitat because changes have occurred in their body structure over long periods of time which help them to survive in the saline water of ocean habitat.
Thus, a fish is adapted to live in water habitat (like the ocean). Now, the desert and ocean are very different habitats having very different environments and we find that different kinds of plants and animals live in these two habitats. We will now define the term “adaptation”.
A living thing can survive in a particular habitat if its body is suited (or adapted) to the conditions or environment of that habitat. Plants and animals develop special characteristics or features in their body in order to survive in their habitat (or surroundings). The presence of specific body features (or certain habits) which enable a plant or an animal to live in a particular habitat is called adaptation.
The plants like cactus and animals like camels have developed special body features for surviving in hot and dry areas of desert. This is known as adaptation to desert environment. Similarly, the animals like fish have developed special body features for surviving in water. This is known as adaptation to water habitat (or aquatic habitat). We will now understand the meaning of adaptation more clearly by taking the example of two different kinds of organisms, a camel and a fish, from two entirely different habitats : the desert and the pond (or ocean).
Adaptation in Camel
Camel lives in hot desert where water is scarce. The body structure of a camel helps it to survive in desert conditions. Camel is adapted to live in a desert because of its following special features :
- The camel has long legs which help to keep its body away from the hot sand in the desert (see Figure).
- A camel can drink large amount of water (when it is available) and store it in the body.
- A camel’s body is adapted to save water in the dry desert as follows : A camel passes small amount of urine; its dung is dry and it does not sweat. Since a camel loses very little water from its body, it can live for many days without drinking water.
- A camel’s hump has ‘fat’ stored in it. In case of emergency, a camel can break down stored fat to obtain water.
- A camel has large and flat feet which help it to walk easily on soft sand (by preventing it from sinking into soft sand).
Adaptation in Fish
The fish lives in water (in a pond, lake, river or ocean). The body structure of a fish helps it to survive inside water. The fish is adapted to live life in water because of its following special features :
1. The head, trunk and tail of a fish merge to form a streamlined shape (see Figure). The streamlined body shape helps the fish to move through the water easily (because such a shape offers least resistance to motion).
2. The fish has special organs called “gills” which help it to absorb oxygen dissolved in water for breathing. A fish can live in water only because it is adapted to breathe in water (through gills). A fish cannot live on dry land because it is not adapted to breathe on land.
3. The fish has slippery scales over its body which protect the body from water and also help in easy movement through water.
4. The fish has strong tail for swimming.
5. The fish has flat fins to change direction and keep its body balance in water.
From the above discussion we conclude that the special body features of a camel help it to survive in a desert whereas the special body features of a fish help it to live in water. In other words, a camel is adapted to the desert environment whereas a fish is adapted to live in water. Please note that adaptation to a habitat does not take place in a short time.
Over thousands of years, the abiotic factors of a region change. Those animals (and plants) which cannot adapt to these changes die out and only those which get adapted to the changed environment survive. Different animals and plants adapt to different environments in different ways. This results in a large variety of organisms in different environments (or habitats). We will now discuss some habitats, the abiotic factors of these habitats and adaptation of animals and plants to these habitats.