Every organism is suited to live in its particular habitat. Each organism is adapted to its particular environment. An adaptation is thus, "the appearance or behaviour or structure or mode of life of an organism that allows it to survive in a particular environment".
Tropical region Basic characteristics:
• The tropical region lies very close to the equator; between 10°N and 10°S. So, it is referred to as the equatorial region.
• It is characterized by hot and wet climate throughout the year.
• The day temperatures are high with very high humidity. At night the temperature goes down but the humidity remains high.
• The forests are thick hence the dense “roof” created by leaves and branches does not allow the sunlight to reach the ground. The ground remains dark and damp.
• Only shade tolerant vegetation may grow here. Orchids, bromeliads grow as plant parasites.
Tropical Rainforest Plant Adaptations
• Drip tips and waxy surfaces on the leaves allow water to run off hence discourage growth of bacteria and fungi.
• Buttresses and prop and stilt roots help hold up plants in the shallow soil.
• Some plants climb on others to reach the sunlight.
• Some plants grow on other plants to reach the sunlight.
• Flowers on the forest floor are designed to lure animal pollinators since there is relatively no wind on the forest floor to aid in pollination.
• Smooth bark and smooth or waxy flowers speed the run off of water.
• Plants have shallow roots to help capture nutrients from the top level of soil which is rich in humus.
• Many bromeliads are epiphytes (plants that live on other plants); instead of collecting water with roots they collect rainwater into a central reservoir from which they absorb the water through hairs on their leaves
• Epiphytic orchids have aerial roots that cling to the host plant, absorb minerals, and absorb water from the atmosphere
Tropical Rainforest Animal Adaptations
• Many animals of the rainforest are camouflaged which aids them in avoiding predators.
• Some animals like the poison arrow frog produce toxins in their skin to ward off a predator. These animals are boldly colored as a warning for others to stay as far away as possible.
• Some animals have adaptations that enable them to eat food that other animals can't. For example parrots have strong beaks that crack the shells of very hard nuts.
• Spider monkeys live in the upper canopy layers of rainforests, preferring undisturbed habitat, almost never coming to the ground. Their long limbs and strong tail are good examples of rainforest biome adaptations. They swing through the rainforest canopy and hang suspended by their tails. The powerful prehensile tail plays the role of a fifth arm and is often used for balance or just hanging out.
• Many tropical rainforest animals have a diet that includes a large amount of fruit which is available year round.
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