Interesting Examples of Adaptations in the Animal World
In the wild, in order to survive, you need to be able to adapt. Many animals follow this golden rule, so their populations thrive. Some adaptations arose millions of years ago and are still successfully used by representatives of the animal world. Find out about these most important adaptations, thanks to which we can today witness such a wide variety of fauna on the planet.
Interesting Examples of Adaptations in the Animal World
1) Flocks, herds, groups
Among all the adaptations of the animal world, perhaps the most important is the habit of living in a team. Animals get a lot of benefits, living side by side with representatives of their species. They help each other get food, defend themselves from enemies, and take care of the offspring together. Countless species are grouped into groups, colonies, herds, flocks, complex communities, or free associations. However, the most common groups in the animal kingdom are groups called “nuclear families”, which include a male, female, and their offspring, or a male, several females and their offspring, or a group of females and their offspring, or other combinations.
Animals have adapted to move differently while living on the planet, including walking, swimming, climbing, or jumping. But the most remarkable of the adaptations to the movement can be called a flight. Flying allows animals not only to travel long distances much faster than when walking or running on the surface, but the ability to fly also allows them to hide from enemies, find new territories, and search for food sources that would otherwise be inaccessible. Flying changed the life of not only many animals, but it also completely changed our life, transformed human society, and presented many opportunities.
This adaptation is found in many living things, especially birds and insects. Nothing in nature is as impressive as the movement of entire populations of animals that move in large groups from one place to another. The causes of migrations can be very different but are usually associated with a lack of food and the search for new, more food-rich places, and animals often migrate in order to mate and give birth to offspring. Some living creatures are able to migrate over strikingly long distances, covering thousands of kilometers annually. For example, the Arctic tern migrates every year from breeding sites in the Arctic to wintering places in Antarctica, covering a distance of 40 thousand kilometers.
The ability to merge with the environment and become undetected is very helpful in order to avoid predators, especially those animals that are small enough and do not have other means of protection from enemies in their arsenal. Disguise is used by many living things. Some animal species, including scorpion and tree frog, can change their appearance in order to fit the environment. Others in the course of evolution have turned into something completely different from the animal organism, for example, a branch or leaf. Zebras are animals that also use disguise to trick a potential enemy. For a lion, a zebra seems to be a mass of black and white stripes, but not a seductive treat.
Getting out of bed on cold and cloudy winter days is not a pleasant occupation, so some animals prefer to spend hibernation all winter. This is a brilliant way to avoid the cold and survive in harsh conditions when resources are very scarce. Many animals hibernate, including chipmunks, hedgehogs, bats, and bears. Some animals, such as the American black bear, sleep all winter, but it is easy enough to wake him up. Other animals, for example, the majority of mammals that hibernate in winter, sleep so tightly that they fall into suspended animation and many of their body functions stop. Waking them up is very difficult, if at all possible.
6) Conservation of resources
For animals that live in places where resources, such as food and water, are very scarce for a long period, the ability to store fat and water in their bodies helps to survive. This amazing feature has a two-humped camel, which lives in the arid regions of Central and East Asia, where the air temperature in summer varies from minus 5 to 40 degrees Celsius. These camels are perfectly adapted to such harsh conditions. Firstly, their humps are filled with fat, which turns into energy and water, necessary in order to survive in the harsh time of the year. Moreover, these camels do not sweat at all until their body temperature rises to 40 degrees.
7) Deceptive resizing
Many animals have adapted to seem larger in order to scare away enemies. For example, pufferfish can swell and almost double in size in order to intimidate the enemy and gain benefits. In case of danger, these fish pump air and water into their very elastic belly and become round like balls. In a swollen state, it is difficult for these fish to move, but this is not so important since they become seemingly not particularly attractive as a lunch.
For us humans, body hair does not carry any particular importance, and we can live perfectly without them. However, for most animals in the wild, wool is an important protective element. Take, for example, a musky bull. Wool is vital for these animals, which live in very cold conditions in Alaska. Thick shaggy hair hangs down to the ground, giving the bull the necessary protection from the cold, which allows these creatures to withstand extremely low temperatures. Fur helps animals survive in winter at an average temperature of minus 35 degrees Celsius. Animals dump winter wool and change it to a lighter summer coat when the air temperature rises to 5-10 degrees Celsius.
9) Nest parasitism
Most women enjoy the joy of motherhood, but among them, there are sometimes those who want someone else to do all the work for them. In the animal kingdom, the situation is exactly the same. For example, some species of cuckoos are known for their habit of using such adaptations as nest parasitism. They lay their eggs in the nests of other species of birds, which are forced to feed and care for the cuckoo, as their own chick. Compared to other chicks, cuckoos are usually much larger and more aggressive, so the strongest winds in the struggle for survival. Sometimes a cuckoo can hatch earlier than other chicks and push other eggs out of the nest, thereby reducing competition. This adaptation helps cuckoos survive but seriously harms other species.