The Living Being and Their Surroundings of Class 6
The place (or surroundings) where a plant or animal lives is called its habitat. Some of the examples of habitats are : Deserts, Mountain regions (or Hills), Forests, Grasslands, Garden, Fields, Soil, Homes, Tree, pond, Lake, River, Ocean (or Sea) and Sea-shore.
All the habitats can be divided into two main groups:
(i) Terrestrial and
(ii) Aquatic habitats
A land based habitat is called a terrestrial habitat. Plant and animals which live on land are said to live in a terrestrial habitats.
Examples of terrestrial habitats are: Desert, Mountains (or Hills), Forest, Grassland, Garden, Field Soil and Homes.
A water based habitat is called an aquatic habitat. Plants and animals which live in water are said to live in an aquatic habitat. Example of aquatic habitats are : Ponds, River, Swamps (an area of waterlogged ground) and Oceans (or Sea).
A habitat includes both biotic and abiotic components of the environment. The habitat also includes the interactions between the biotic and abiotic components of the environment.
Biotic Components: The term biotic means living. So, the living things in a habitat are its biotic components. So, the biotic components of a habitat are: Plants, Animals and Micro-organisms.
Abiotic Components: The term "abiotic" means "non-living". So, the non-living things in a habitat are its abiotic components. So the abiotic components of a habitat are : Soil. Rocks, Air, Water, Sunlight and Temperature.
The presence of specific body features (or, certain habits) which enable a plant or an animal to live in a particular habitat is called adaptation. The plants like cactus and animals like camels have developed special body features for surviving of hot and dry areas of desert. This is known as adaptation to desert environment. Similarly, the animals like fish have developed special body features for surviving in water. This is known as adaptation to water habitat (or aquatic habitat).
Adaptation in Camel
Camel lives in hot desert where water is scarce. The body structure of a camel helps it to survive in desert conditions) Camel is adapted to live in a desert because of its following special features :
1. The camel has long legs which help to keep its body away from the hot sand in the desert.
2. A camel can drink large amount of water (when it is available) and store it in the body.
3. A camel's body is adapted to save water in the dry desert as follows : A camel passes small amount of urine; its dung is dry and it does not sweat. Since a camel loses very little water from its body, it can live for many days without drinking water.
4. A camel's hump has 'fat' stored in it. In case of emergency, a camel can break down stored fat to obtain water.
5. A camel has large and flat feet which help it to walk easily on soft sand (by preventing it from sinking into soft sand).
Adaptation in Fish:
The fish lives in water (in a pond, lake, river or ocean). The body structure of a fish helps it to survive inside water. The fish is adapted to live life in water because of its following special features :
- The head, trunk and tail of a fish merge to form a streamlined shape. The streamlined body shape helps the fish to move through the water easily (because such a shape offers least resistance to motion).
- The fish has special organs called "gills" which help it to absorb oxygen dissolved in water for breathing? A fish can live in water only because it is adapted to breathe in water (through gills). A fish cannot live on dry land because it is not adapted to breathe on land.
- The fish has slippery scales over its body which protect the body from water and also help in easy movement through water.
- The fish has strong tail for swimming.
- The fish has flat fins to change direction and keep its body balance in water.
Some Terrestrial Habitats
Some of the important terrestrial habitats are :
(i) Deserts, (ii) Mountain regions, and (iii) Forests (or Grasslands).
A waterless area of land covered with sand and having little or no vegetation (plants, etc.) is called a desert.
Adaptation in Desert Animals
The desert animals such as desert rats and desert snakes survive by living in burrows during the hot daytime.
The desert rats and desert snakes come out of the burrows only during cool night in search of food. The desert animals such as desert rats and desert snakes pass out very small amount of urine and hence conserve water in their body.
Adaptation in Desert Plants
Cactus is the most common plant found in deserts.
- The cactus plants have modified their leaves in the form of thin spines (or thorns) to reduce the loss of water through transpiration.
- The photosynthesis in cactus plants is carried out by the green stem. The green leaf-like structures which we see in a cactus plant is actually its stem.
- The cactus plants store water in their stems. The stem of a cactus plant is covered with thick waxy layer (called cuticle) which prevents the loss of water from it through evaporation
A very high hill is called a mountain. The mountain habitats are usually very cold and windy.
Adaptation in Plants to Mountain Habitats
The trees can survive in extremely cold and windy mountain habitats due to the following adaptations
- The cone shape of the mountain trees makes the rain-water and snow to slide off easily without damaging the branches and leaves.
- Many mountain trees have small, needle-like leaves due to which these leaves lose very little water in windy conditions.
- The broad-leaved trees found on mountains shed their leaves before the onset of winter. This prevents such trees from losing water from their leaves and helps in their survival during winter when all the water in soil is frozen and hence not available to the roots.
Adaptation in Animals to Mountain Habitats
Adaptation in Yak
Yak is a kind of large ox covered with long silky hair. Yak lives on mountains where it is very cold.
Yaks are adapted to live in the cold climate of the mountains as follows: Yaks have long hair on their body to protect them from cold by keeping them warm.
Adaptation in Mountain Goat
- The mountain goat has long hair to protect it from cold and keep it warm.
- The mountain goat has strong hooves for running up the rocky slopes of mountains for grazing (The hard and rough feet of an animal are called hooves).
Forests (or Grasslands)
Ca large area of land covered mainly with trees and plants is called a forest. And a large area of grass-covered land used for grazing is called grassland) There are few trees or places for animals to hide
Adaptation in Lion
1. The lion is a strong, fast and agile animal which can hunt and kill its prey like deer.
2. The lion has long, strong and sharp claws in its front legs to catch its prey.
3. The lion has eyes in front of its head which enable it to have a correct idea of the location of its prey. This helps it in catching the prey.
4. The lion is light brown in colour. The light brown colour helps the lion to hide in dry grassland (without being noticed) when it hunts for prey.
Adaptation in deer
1. The deer has eyes on the sides of its head which enable it to see in all directions at the same time. The all round vision of deer helps it to see animals like lion (which kill it), in all the area around it.
2. The deer has big ears for good hearing. The big ears help the deer to hear the movements of predators (like lion) very easily.
3. The deer is fast and agile animal. The speed of deer helps it to run away from the predators (like lion) which try to catch it.
4. The deer has brown colour. The brown colour of deer helps it to hide in dry grasslands without being noticed by lion, etc.
5. The deer has strong teeth for chewing hard plant stems of the forest.
Some Aquatic Habitats
The habitats having water all around are called aquatic habitats. The important aquatic habitats are:
- Oceans, and (ii) Ponds, Lakes and Rivers
A very large area of sea is called ocean.
Many sea-animals have streamlined bodies to help them move in sea-water easily.
Most of the sea-animals have gills which enable them to use oxygen dissolved in water for breathing.
Ponds, Lakes and Rivers
Ponds, lakes and rivers are "fresh-water" aquatic habitats.
(a) Some aquatic plants float on the surface of water. Example- Water lettuce and water hyacinth
(b)Some aquatic plants are partly submerged in water. Example- Water Lilly and Lotus.
(c) Some aquatic plants arc completely submerged in water. Example- Hydrilla
Adaptations In Aquatic Plants (or Water Plants)
- The aquatic plants have very short and small roots whose main function is to hold the plant in place.
- The stems of aquatic plants are soft, hollow and light, having large spaces filled with air.
- The submerged aquatic plants have narrow and thin ribbon-like leaves which can bend in the flowing water of rivers and streams and hence do not obstruct the flow of water.
Animals Adapted to Live In Water and on Land
Frogs can live inside water as well as on land near the pond.
- Frogs have webbed back feet which help them to swim in water (Webbed feet are formed from thin skin between toes and work like paddles for swimming). This adaptation helps the frogs to live life in water.
- Frogs have strong back legs for hopping (jumping) and catching their prey. This adaptation helps the frogs to live life on land.