Adaptation: Introduction, Types & Importance (2023)

  • Written By Umesh_K
  • Last Modified 24-01-2023

Adaptation: Introduction, Types & Importance (1)

Why do the fishes have fins but not us? Why can’t we have wings like the birds? Each one of us must have wished for wings like birds at some point in life. But why has nature not helped us to get wings? This is because we are terrestrial animals and we do not need to fly for our basic necessities. Birds have got wings as a result of their Adaptation as aerial animals. Fishes have fins because of their adaptation to water.

Adaptation is the biological method through which organisms adjust to new settings or changes in their current environment, according to evolutionary theory. Organisms can adapt to their surroundings in a variety of ways. They have the ability to adapt biologically, which means they can change body functions.

Adaptation in the living world is quite amazing. Let us dig deeper into this interesting world of adaptation through this article. Here we will discuss in detail about Adaptation, Definition, Types, Importance, etc. Continue reading to know more.

Adaptation: Introduction, Types & Importance (2)

What is the Best Definition of the Word Adaptation?

  1. Adaptation can be defined as any heritable trait that helps an organism, such as a plant or animal, survive and reproduce in its environment.
  2. A change in structure, function, or behavior by which a species or individual improves its chance of survival in a specific environment is called adaptation.

Need for Adaptation

  1. Adaptation is a complex evolutionary process that fits any organism to a given environment. This is needed to evolve better.
  2. It is necessary for biological fitness and reproductive fitness or success. An animal well adapted to its environment is more likely to survive and reproduce.

What are 4 Examples of Adaptations?

Adaptation to Cold Climate

Life in the planet’s polar regions can be incredibly difficult. Do you know why?

  1. Bitterly cold winds whip across the landscape.
  2. Winter temperatures can reach deep into the negatives, and the winter night can last for months.
  3. But these seemingly barren landscapes are home to a rich diversity of wildlife- both on land and under the sea surface—that has evolved to survive these harsh conditions.
Adaptation: Introduction, Types & Importance (3)
Animal AdaptationsPlant Adaptations
1. Penguins rearrange their feathers by preening.
2. To conserve heat, penguins may tuck in their flippers close to their bodies.
3. They also may shiver to generate additional heat.
4. Polar bears live in one of the planet’s coldest environments and depend on a thick coat of insulated fur, which covers a warming layer of fat.
1. Coniferous trees have thick bark to protect against the cold. They are cone-shaped, with flexible branches which help them to cope with heavy snowfall.
2. Cushion plants are low-growing and compact plant species. Their short and compact stature enables them to avoid the harsh alpine winds and water loss that accompanies high winds. Additionally, this adaptation allows the plant to trap heat in the winter, and cool air in the summer.

Adaptation to Desert Environment

Desert biomes are the driest of all biomes. In fact, the most important characteristic of a desert is that it receives very little rainfall.

Adaptation: Introduction, Types & Importance (4)
Animal AdaptationPlant Adaptation
● Drinking least water per day like camels.● Developing a deeper root system like cactus.
● Excreting concentrated urine.● Reducing leaves and thus, transpiration like cactus.
● More active at night than daytime like a Kangaroo rat.● Storing watery material in juicy stems, roots, and other body parts like succulents.
● Developing light-coloured fur to reflect sunlight and keep their body’s temperature low.● Presence of cuticle on leaves or aerial parts.
● Some of them store water in their body parts, like camels.

Adaptation to Aquatic Habitat

Aquatic habitats occur at a range of scales, from a micro-habitat under a particular log to a macro-habitat such as a pool or a riffle and, at the broadest scale, to the entire river system or oceans.

Adaptation: Introduction, Types & Importance (5)
Animal AdaptationsPlant Adaptations
Whales and dolphins are mammals that breathe through nostrils, called a blowhole, located right on top of their heads.
● One of the most important adaptations of dolphins is their ability to use echolocation to learn about their surroundings.
● Fish have gills for breathing oxygen in water and fins for propelling and steering their body through water.
● Streamlined body like fish.
● The waxy coating on entire body parts, like the lotus.
● Dissected leaves to bypass water current.
● Specialised pollination mechanism in certain plants.

Adaptation in Plants and Animals- Mountains

  1. Animals living in mountains have evolved morphological, behavioural, and physiological adaptations to survive under extreme conditions.
  2. Like most trees in the Taiga, fir trees are coniferous; this means that they do not lose their leaves. Instead of traditional leaves, fir trees have needles, which have less surface area than leaves and therefore require less energy to grow.
  3. Yaks have special adaptations to help them excel at high elevations. The yak’s tongue is extremely rough, making it well adapted for scraping mosses and lichens off of rocks and other tough surfaces. Like other bovines, the yak has a rumen (fermentation vat). This is a part of the stomach that partially digests food and then uses it as cud.
  4. Mountain goats have thick, woolly coats that protect them from cold temperatures, wind and other animals. Short, strong legs help them climb and jump on uneven surfaces.


  1. Co-adaptation is the process by which two or more species, genes or phenotypic traits undergo adaptation as a pair or group.
  2. Predator-prey and flower-pollinator relationships often exhibit examples of co-adaptation, which is an aspect of coevolution.

Predator & Prey Adaptations

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  1. Predators and their prey evolve together. Over time, prey animals develop adaptations to help them avoid being eaten and predators develop strategies to make them more effective at catching their prey.
  2. Predators have “weapons”, or adaptations, that help them hunt and kill prey. Predator’s three main “weapons” are claws, jaws, and teeth. The lion has all 3 of these “weapons” or adaptations that are used for catching its prey. A lion has sharp claws for catching and grabbing hold prey such as a zebra, and strong jaws and teeth for biting and killing the zebra and for ripping off and chewing the meat.
  3. Stripes for camouflage, long and powerful legs for running, and strong teeth adapted to a grassy diet are among the most important adaptations of zebras.
  4. The walking stick insect uses camouflage to protect themselves from their predators. The walking stick is a self-explanatory insect, it looks like a stick. This makes survival easier for the insect to not be eaten or noticed by predators.

Adaptation Level Theory or Phenomenon

The adaptation-level theory describes the process by which a person becomes insensitive to the effects of constant stimuli (smell, sound, visual, etc). This theory can be explained with an example. Upon entering a bakery, for example, a customer may immediately feel the smell of coffee and doughnuts.

After being in the bakery for a few minutes, however, he or she will no longer experience those initial smells. This change in the customer’s sensory experiences occurred because the smell-inducing stimulus is constant.

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What are Examples of Adaptations?

ToucanTropical rainforestTheir vivid colors provide camouflage in the rainforest canopy. Its bill is useful for reaching fruit on branches that are too small to hold them and for feeding.
Red-eyed tree frogTropical rainforestTheir most notable adaptation is its beautiful coloration.
Pufferfish or BlowfishAquatic habitatThey can inflate into a ball shape to evade predators.
Antarctic ToothfishAquatic habitatThey produce antifreeze glycoproteins that allow it to survive in the freezing waters of the Southern Ocean.
Lion-tailed macaqueTropical rainforestThey have silver manes to help keep off the rain during monsoons, and their cheek pouches allow them to collect a lot of food quickly and avoid predators.
Kangaroo ratDesertThey can survive without ever drinking any water, getting needed moisture from their seed diet.
Fennec foxDesertThey have many desert adaptations, including fur-covered feet, heat radiating ears, and pale fur that offers excellent camouflage in the sand.


Adaptation is a basic need for the proper survival and perpetuation of every species. There are three different types of adaptations, namely, structural, behavioural, and physiological. An organism that is adapted to its environment is with an upper hand of better survival and better reproductive success. Failure to adapt leads to the extinction of species. The humongous dinosaurs could not adapt to the changing environment and are extinct now.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We have provided some frequently asked questions here about adaptation:

Q.1. What is aestivation?
Aestivation is a state of inactivity and metabolic reduction in response to a lack of water or high temperature.

Q.2. What is the meaning of adaptation?
The term means the presence of specific features or traits or certain habits, which enable an organism (plant, animal, microbes, etc.) to live in its surroundings.

Q.3. What are some adaptations of polar bears?
Polar bears live in one of the planet’s coldest environments and depend on a thick coat of insulated fur, which covers a warming layer of fat. Fur even grows on the bottom of their paws, which protects against cold surfaces and provides a good grip on ice.

Q.4. What is an adaptation example?
Yaks have special adaptations to help them excel at high elevations. The yak’s tongue is extremely rough, making it well adapted for scraping mosses and lichens off of rocks and other tough surfaces. Like other bovines, the yak has a rumen (fermentation vat). This is a part of the stomach that partially digests food and then uses it as cud.

Q.5. Explain what is an adaptation in your own words.
An adaptation is a feature that is common in a population because it provides some improved function. Adaptations are well fitted to their function and are produced by natural selection.

Q.6. What are the 3 types of adaptations?
Structural, behavioural, and physiological are three different types of adaptations.

Q.7. What do you mean by acclimatization?
The process of changes that can occur in an organism over a short period of time that helps it to adjust to its surroundings is known as acclimatisation.

Q.8. What are the six types of adaptations?
Behavioural, mimicry, protective colouration, structural, migration and hibernation are six types of adaptations observed in organisms.

Q.9. What is camouflage?
Camouflage, also called cryptic coloration, is a defense mechanism or tactic that organisms use to disguise their appearance, usually to blend in with their surroundings.

Q.10. What is the best definition of adaptation?
Ans: Adaptation can be defined as any heritable trait that helps an organism, such as a plant or animal, survive and reproduce in its environment.

Q.11. What is hibernation?
Hibernation is when an animal slows its heart rate to save energy and survive the winter without eating much.

Q.12. What is mimicry?
Mimicry is the resemblance of one organism to another, usually as the result of evolution in response to a selective advantage.

Q.13. How do camels survive in the desert?
Ans: The camel has many adaptive traits for their life in the desert. They have wide feet for walking in sand. They have long eyelashes and thin, slit nostrils that they can close to protect them from blowing sand.

We hope you find this article on the Adaptation helpful. In case of any queries, you can reach back to us in the comments section, and we will try to solve them.


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