Organism Adaptations

By Joy P.

Anatomical/Physical

Camouflage/Mimicry

Leaf katydids have bodies that look like a leaf so they can hide in their environment (leaves) from hungry predators. Viceroy butterflies use mimicry, where they look like the poisonous monarch to fool predators.

Swelling/Ballooning

The puffer fish is a spiny fish that swells itself up by swallowing large amounts of water, turning itself into a large spiky ball to intimidate and protect itself from predators.

Penguin's Skin Flap

Male emperor penguins have a flap of skin that it hides its egg underneath to keep the egg warm with the father's body heat, while the father keeps the egg off of the snow and icy ground by resting it on the father's feet.

Cactus Thorns

A cactus has thorns instead of leaves to prevent any water loss, since water is scarce in the desert. The thorns also function to help protect the cactus against any predators looking for a meal.

Physiological

Panting

Dogs sweat through their tongues because their sweat glands are located on their tongues, which is also called panting.

Imprinting

Young birds such as the Canadian goose learn to recognize and follow the first thing they see after they hatch, which is usually their mother. Imprinting keeps the young close to their mother, who knows how to find food and avoid predators, and also teaches the young what their own kind look like.

Red Kangaroos

The red kangaroo lives in Australia. Due to the harsh, arid living conditions, a red kangaroo is capable of reabsorbing the embryo of her joey when food and water is scarce, increasing her chances of survival.

Making Venom

Animals will produce venom for a variety of reasons. Some may use it to hunt for food, while others use it in self defense. The poison dart frog secretes toxin through its skin as a defense against predators, while a rattlesnake uses poison to kill its prey before eating.

Behavioral

Safety in Groups

Group members protect each other and work together to find food. For example, musk oxen adults form a protective ring around their young to protect them from predators.

Aggression

A threatening behavior animals display to gain control over one another. Cats arch their backs and fluff up their fur while baring their teeth to appear larger and more threatening when facing danger.

Courtship Behavior

Courtship behavior ensures that males and females of the same species recognize each other, so mating and reproduction can take place. Male satin bowerbirds build elaborate bowers to attract a potential mate. When the green female bowerbird enters the bower, she shows that she agrees to be his mate.

Migration

Migration is the regular, periodic journey an animal takes from one place to another and back again. Animals migrate to an area that provides abundant food or a favorable environment for reproduction or both. Adult salmon live in oceans, but must migrate to the same stream they hatched from in order to mate and reproduce, since the stream provides the ideal conditions for the eggs to develop and hatch.

Alloparental Care

In alloparenting, individuals will raise young as their own despite not being the biological parents. Animals who engage in alloparental care include kangaroos, wolves, elephants, and fathead minnows.