Write a short note on Effect of temperature or water scarcity and the adaptations of animals.
Effects of temperature or water scarcity and the adaptations of animals:-
Temperature is the most important ecological factor. Average temperature on the Earth varies from one place to another. These variations in temperature affect the distribution of animals on the Earth. Animals that can tolerate a wide range of temperature are called eurythermals. Those which can tolerate a narrow range of temperature are called stenothermal animals. Animals also undergo adaptations to suit their natural habitats. For example, animals found in colder areas have shorter ears and limbs that prevent the loss of heat from their body. Also, animals found in Polar regions have thick layers of fat below their skin and thick coats of fur to prevent the loss of heat.
Some organisms exhibit various behavioural changes to suit their natural habitat. These adaptations present in the behaviour of an organism to escape environmental stresses are called behavioural adaptations. For example, desert lizards are ectotherms. This means that they do not have a temperature regulatory mechanism to escape temperature variations. These lizards bask in the sun during early hours when the temperature is quite low. As the temperature begins to increase, the lizard burrows itself inside the sand to escape the scorching sun. Similar burrowing strategy is seen in other desert animals.
Water scarcity is another factor that forces animals to undergo certain adaptations to suit their natural habitat. Animals found in deserts such as desert kangaroo rats, lizards, snakes, etc. are well adapted to stay in their habitat. The kangaroo rat found in the deserts of Arizona never drinks water in its life. It has the ability to concentrate its urine to conserve water. Desert lizards and snakes bask in the sun during early morning and burrow in the sand as the temperature rises to escape the heat of the day. Such adaptations can be seen to prevent the loss of water.
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