By. Varenya S. - Stokes 5


Air Plant

Air plants, which are also called epiphytes, usually anchor or perch on another structure, instead of staying rooted in soil. They get water and nutrients from dew, air moisture, rainwater, and collected plant debris from adventitious plants (that grow from the stem or leaf) and aerial roots. Air plants include many lichens and mosses, as well as 10% of all seed plants and ferns and over half the orchid species. It is important to remember that the way of life that air plants follow is not parasitic.


Burrowing, or fossorial, animals live underground and for a variety of reasons. For some it is so they can feed on soil flora and fauna, for others it's to avoid predators or to hide away from the extremes of climate above ground. For example, a British mole avoids the worst of the winter cold in its tunnels, while a naked mole rat in Africa gets protection from the heat. Both have some protection from roaming predators.


Nocturnal animals are mostly active at night rather than during daylight hours. There are all sorts of reasons why this behavior is good. In hotter places such as the tropics, it's cooler at night. If you're a bat, then your ancestors took to the night skies to avoid competition for resources from birds. And, obviously, it's easier to hide from predators under cover of darkness. The badger, kinkajou, and skunk are only a few of the nocturnal animals in the world.


Parasitic organisms have a close relationship with another organism. Parasites use the organism to extract food. Usually, the process harms the host, sometimes even killing it. Parasites can either live on top of the host, like blood sucking fleas, or they can live inside it like tapeworms. There are many examples of parasites in both the plant and animal kingdoms and some fungi.


Altitude tolerant

Altitude tolerant organisms are adapted to living high up where oxygen levels - or carbon dioxide levels in the case of plants - are low. The upper reaches of mountain ranges are also often bitterly cold, or subject to swinging daily extremes in temperatures.

Chemical tolerant

Chemical tolerant describes organisms which can tolerate high concentrations of substances which would be toxic or corrosive to other life. For instance plants that can live in the acidic and low oxygen conditions of peat bogs, flamingoes that can tolerate the alkaline waters of soda lakes and brine flies which can live and breed on salt flats.

Cold tolerant

Cold tolerant organisms have evolved many different methods for coping with very low temperatures. Some animals hibernate, take shelter, or even migrate to warmer areas. Others, such as Antarctic seals, have warm fur and a thick layer of blubber for insulation. Arctic plants tend to be small and grow low to the ground and can be coated with hair and wax to avoid wind chill. Some insects, amphibians and microbes can even withstand being frozen solid.

Dry tolerant

Dry tolerant plants and animals are able to bear conditions where water is hard to find. Strategies include preventing its loss, storing for later use and being able to survive on less than normal. These adaptations aren't only important for organisms that live in tropical hot deserts. They're also necessary for those that inhabit the cold deserts of the polar regions, and non-desert areas that suffer from periodic or seasonal droughts. Cacti are among the most drought resistant plants on the planet and are able to store water in their stems and roots. Some can even survive years of drought after a single rainfall.


Warning colors

Warning colors is coloration and other markings that send a signal to predators to keep away, usually because the organism is poisonous. Warning colors are usually two contrasting ones, like yellow and black, in stripes or blobs for maximum impact to multiple species, since even color-blind animals can see patterns. Because this anti-predation strategy is so useful, some animals cheat. Eye spot patterns make them look like larger organisms or bright colours might warn away even though they are safe to eat. The hoverfly is striped like a wasp, but has no sting.


Bioluminescence is light created by living organisms. It can create the most fantastic displays. It includes phosphorescence, created by marine creatures and seen on the surface of the sea at night, the light of fireflies and the faint glow of some fungi. The light is produced chemically for many different reasons: to attract attention, to frighten enemies, to disguise what you really are, or - in the depths of the sea - to provide your own "headlights" to search out prey.


Mimicry is when an animal or plant resembles another creature or inanimate object, either for defence or to gain other advantages. Pebble plants try not to be eaten by resembling stones, praying mantises resemble flowers. The mimicking species may smell, sound or behave like the creature or object it is duplicating, not simply look like it. For example, one type of firefly mimics the light flashes and pheremones of another in order to catch and eat it.

Echolocation and ultrasound

Ultrasound is high frequency sound that's above the range of human hearing. Some animals produce ultrasound for communication or for navigation. Baby rats call to their mothers with high pitched squeaks inaudible to humans. Dolphins use ultrasound to echolocate and find their way around in murky or dark water.