In a population of organisms there is always some genetic variability. If a trait helps an organism survive to have more offspring, it has selective advantage. This is an example of natural selection and can lead to the a trait showing up in more and more of a population – which leads to adaptation.
Natural selection can drive adaptations in organisms that help them blend in and escape detection. Cryptic colors, patterns, and behaviors can help an organism survive longer and have more young. Camouflage has many forms. Some organisms simply have the same colors as the surrounding environment – blending camouflage.
Some combine cryptic coloring with the actual details of leaves, bark or plants on which they live, forming disguise camouflage. Some animals develop a color pattern, like spots, zigzags or stripes to hide the outline of their bodies or blend in with dappled light, irregular bark or tall grass.
Some animals mimic the body coloring or actions of poisonous or bad tasting prey and benefit from that protection.
Some animals enlarge themselves to discourage predators or try to startle a predator with a loud hiss, a flash of color, or sudden leaping. This is called adaptive behavior.
Some physical adaptative traits help animals survive in their habitat. Longer, thicker fur for the cold; larger ears to cool the blood in the heat; or webbed feet for swimming. Some organisms change physical traits with the seasons, e.g. furred animals turning white in winter. These are all adaptive traits that can increase an organism’s change of survival.
Can you think of other examples of camouflage or adaptive bevaviors that have a selective advantage for organisms? Use the worksheet to do some research and share your findings.
When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).
When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.
Amsel, Sheri. "Camouflage and Adaptive Behaviors - Read, Research, Report (6-8 Grade)" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2021. August 5, 2021
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