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What are structures?
An organism’s structure is the way it
is put together—how its parts are
arranged to form a whole.
An organism’s external structure is
what is on the outside of its body.
An organism’s internal structure is the
way parts are arranged inside the body.
What are functions?
An organism’s functions are the processes
that allow it to survive and reproduce.
Digestion is an example of a function in
animals. Digestion lets animals break down
foods into molecules that can be absorbed
into the body.
Photosynthesis is an example of a function in
plants. Photosynthesis lets plants use the
energy from sunlight to make food.
What are adaptations?
Both the external and internal structures of
organisms have adaptations that enable
them to perform specific functions. An
adaptation is a physical characteristic or
behavior that allows an organism to
survive and reproduce in its environment.
Reasons for adaptations
To suit their habitat
For protection
For attacking
For feeding
For movement
The external features of an
organism determine how well the
organism survives in its
environment. These features can
vary among individuals in a
A.Coloration and Protective
Type of External
Coloration and
resemblance allow
an animal to blend
into its environment.
Another word for this
might be
camouflage. Their
camouflage makes it
hard for enemies to
single out
Types of External
 Mimicry allows
one animal to look,
sound, or act like
another animal to fool
predators into
thinking it is
poisonous or
Behavioral adaptations
Behavioral adaptations
include activities that help
an animal survive.
Behavioural adaptations
can be learned or
instinctive. (a behaviour
an animal is born with) .
An opossum plays dead.
Type of Behavioral
A. Migration: This is a
behavioral adaptation that
involves an animal or group
of animals moving from one
region to another and then
back again.
Animals migrate for different
better climate
better food
safe place to live
safe place to raise young
go back to the place they were
Type of Behavioural
B. Nocturnal – Animals that are
active during the night time hours.
Usually desert animals are nocturnal
to escape the heat during the day.
C. Burrowing – animals that dig
holes or tunnels to escape predators
or extreme temperatures.
•D. Hibernation is a state of greatly reduced
body activity that occurs during the winter when
food is scarce.
Other Behavioral adaptations:
• Penguins stand close together on the ice. This
behavior helps them to stay warm in their cold
• Squirrels store bits of food in many underground
locations. This behavior ensures that the animal will
have enough food to survive the winter.
• A spider will spin a new web to replace one that is
damaged or that has worn out.
Internal Adaptations/Physiology
is the way that an organism’s parts
and processes function together.
Variations in physiology can help
some organisms survive better in
their environment than others.
How are gills adapted
for function?
• Gills are organs that remove oxygen from water. Gills
have threadlike gill filaments that contain tiny, thinwalled blood vessels called capillaries. The thin
structure of capillary walls is an adaptation that makes
it easy for gases to move into—and out of—the fish’s
When you put all the gill
filaments together, they have a
huge surface area. The larger
the surface area, the more gas
can pass into and out of the
fish’s blood.
How are bird bones adapted
for function?
The bones of birds are filled with
air spaces and therefore are
almost hollow. Because this
structure makes bones lightweight,
it is an adaptation that helps birds
Struts run across the
bone, making the
bone strong.
How are xylem and phloem
an adaptation for plants?
Most land plants have vascular tissue,
a system of tubelike structures that
transport materials within a plant.
There are two main types of vascular
tissue—xylem and phloem.
Xylem transports water from the roots
upward through the plant. Phloem
transports food from the leaves
through the plant.
The cells of xylem and phloem are
long and hollow. The cells are arranged end-to-end to
form tubes. This tubelike structure is an adaptation that
helps xylem and phloem transport materials.