Watch the video to learn more about adaptation.


Key concepts of Adaptation: 

Structural adaptations are special body parts that enable organisms to survive.

Behavioural adaptations are the special ways organisms behave in order to survive.

  • Extreme temperatures

In very cold climate, polar bears have thick fur that trap air (a poor conductor of heat). Air reduces heat loss from the body to the cold surrounding air.

In the hot and dry desert, cactus have fleshy stems to store water. They are waxy (waterproof) to reduce water loss. The cactus have needle-like leaves (spines) to reduce water loss (less exposed surface area, thus reducing the rate of evaporation).

  • Reproduction

Peacocks have large, colourful tail feathers and fireflies glow in order to attract their mates.

Many male animals, including moose and elephant seals, fight with other males for the right to mate with the females. Only winners (strong and healthy males) get to mate and pass on their genes to the next generation.

  • Breathing

Mudskippers have gill chambers that can store water which they are on land. This allows their gills to continue to take in dissolved oxygen.

Water spiders are able to trap air on their bodies to build a bubble of air underwater. This allow them to continue to take in atmospheric oxygen.

  • Moving in water

Fish have streamlined bodies to reduce water resistance (frictional force between their bodies and the water).

Ducks and seagulls have webbed feet to paddle in water.

Dolphins have flippers to swim well and take in atmospheric oxygen through their blowholes.

  • Flight

Most birds have streamlined bodies to reduce air resistance.

Their hollow but strong bones help to reduce their weight.

During winter, some birds fly to places (seasonal migration) where the temperature is warmer and food is more abundant.

  • Obtaining sunlight

Water hyacinths have leaf stalks that contain air spaces. This enables it to float on the water surface. It is able to obtain more sunlight as compared to fully submerged plants.

The morning glory plant has tendrils to climb up supports. This reduces the chances of it being blocked by other plants from receiving sunlight.

  • Catching prey

Artic foxes change the colour of their fur to blend into their surroundings (brown fur in summer and white fur in winter to camouflage well). This enables them to sneak on prey undetected.

Eagles have keen eyesight to spot prey on the ground. They have a sharp, hooked beak to tear flesh and feet with sharp talons to grip prey.

  • Protection from predators

Many organisms camouflage to hide from their predators. Penguins have both black and white feathers. When swimming, the white feathers blend in with the sky above while the black feathers blend in with the dark ocean below (counter-shading).

The poison dart frogs have bright colours to warn predators of their poison to avoid being eaten.

King snakes are not poisonous. However, they have bright bands on their bodies that resemble (mimicry) those of the poisonous coral snake. Predators assume that they are poisonous and thus avoid eating them.


Take this quiz to recap what you have learnt. Aim to reach the moon!