What is Adaptation?

Adaptation Meaning

Adaptation is the action and effect of adapting or adapting, it refers to accommodating or adjusting one thing to another .
The concept has different meanings depending on what is applied: for example adaptation is making a particular object or mechanism perform various functions for which it was designed/built.

On the other hand, the adaptation of an artistic or scientific work refers to the fact of adapting it for publication or dissemination to a public different from the original or through a different form from the original.

It is important to understand that individuals do not acquire these characteristics to adapt to the environment in which they operate. Rather, adaptive characters exist previously in individuals , which often do not represent an immediate advantage.

A change in the environment due to abiotic change or the colonization of a new habitat by a population are often opportune scenarios for a particular trait to become central to the individual’s better performance in the new environment .


Local Adaptations

Adaptations are often local , and a population perfectly adapted to a given environment may become less adapted if exposed to a different environment. This is why there has been a high rate of species extinction in recent decades.

Human activity has changed environmental conditions so rapidly and drastically that natural populations do not have time to respond adaptively .
And they go extinct before Nature has time to develop and refine biological innovations to keep up with them. anthropogenic changes occur.

Adaptation episodes are common in nature and without this phenomenon the diversification of species and the colonization of new habitats would not be possible.
The bat, for example, is a mammal that colonized the air because it developed the ability to fly by selecting for preexisting forms that had longer limb bones.

Plant Adaptations

We have also found in the plant world a series of successful adaptations that allowed plants to colonize the most inhospitable habitats. Take the case of halophytic plants as an example.

These plants colonize high salinity soils and have developed various mechanisms to prevent water loss and maintain a low sodium concentration, such as small fleshy leaves with fewer stomata.

There are often climate-specific adaptations where the challenges to survival are common to different groups of organisms and the survival strategies adopted are similar.

Animals that survive in dry habitats in arid and desert regions have developed similar strategies . To prevent water loss, such as the production of dry stools and concentrated urine.


Mimicry is also another adaptive survival strategy commonly used by animals. Through this mechanism of escape from predators, the body of animals is confused with the environment that surrounds them, which makes them elusive, as is the case with some insects that have the color and shape of the leaves or branches of animals. surrounding trees.

Types of Adaptation


Physiological adaptation is the functional capacity that allows the integration between genetic and environmental factors , resulting in predictable physiological responses, according to predefined criteria such as the type of exercise.


Morphological adaptations are physical changes that occur over several generations in living organisms such as animals and plants. The adaptations of different species can be physical or behavioral. Both categories are necessary for the survival of a species.

Examples of Morphological Adaptations

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  • Camouflage
    Camouflage is the ability to camouflage oneself to mimic the environment. It is used by predators, prey and plants. Color can help an organism blend in with its environment, even when it can’t see color.


Types of Morphological Adaptations

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  • Neoteny
    This capacity refers to those animals that maintain their juvenile characteristics in adulthood. Neoteny is important in evolution: humans are neotenic primates, and insects are assumed to be descended from a neotenic millipede ancestor.
  • Polymorphism
    Polymorphism literally means “ many forms ”; and can be displayed in many ways. A truly polymorphic species has remarkably different individuals living in the same ecosystem .
  • Sexual Dimorphism Sexual
    dimorphism describes those animals in which there is a distinct differential physical difference in reproductive organs between males and females of the same species. One may be larger than the other, or it may have a different color or additional parts to its body, such as plumage or fur.



Biological adaptation is the process of transformation of the organism that makes it capable of living in balance with the environment. The hypotheses have been tested since ancient times, they only constituted a theoretical body with Lamarck and Darwin. Both established two basic and antagonistic lines of evolutionary thought .

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