Think about life in the outdoors for a moment. Humans go on hikes, Whooping Cranes fly, Guadalupe
Bass swim. All different species that have adapted to life on land, in the air and in
the water. Adaptations are behavioral, structural or physiological traits that increase a specie’s
chances of survival in a specific environment. Every living thing must fin in where it lives.
If it doesn’t, it won’t survive. What makes this especially interesting is
that many species share characteristics. Yet a few adaptations make all the difference
in where and how they live. For example, All fish have a heart that pumps blood, intestines
and stomach to digest food, kidneys, a liver, a gall bladder and even a spleen. Just like
humans. But what fish have that we don’t, are bodies
shaped for swimming, gills instead of lungs, and fins instead of limbs. All of these adaptations
help fish survive in a variety of water environments. Take the catfish, for instance. They have
a fairly flat belly so they can easily glide along the bottom, and a wide mouth that stays
level with the bottom to slurp in food. By being a bottom-feeder, they don’t have to
compete with the bass who have a deep narrow body allowing them to hide in vegetation where
their vertical stripes and dots help them blend in. Bass can swim fast, darting out
to catch their food in open water. In Texas, there are over 250 species of freshwater
fish and over 1,500 species of saltwater fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Aquatic life thrives,
in the cypress swamps of Caddo Lake, in the dark Hill Country caves, and in the bays and
estuaries along our state’s coastline. Knowing how different aquatic species have adapted,
helps us appreciate and understand the different roles they play in their aquatic environments.
Think about the outdoors for a moment. Here are some people walking through the woods.
Whooping Cranes take flight near the coast. A Guadalupe bass swims in a hill country creek.
You have just witnessed diversity and adaptation. Humans, Whooping Cranes, and Guadalupe bass
are all different and distinct species. Humans are inherently walkers with legs and have
adapted to life on land. Whooping Cranes are fliers with wings, well adapted to life in
the air. Guadalupe bass are swimmers with fins. They are adapted to living in water.
Adaptations are behavioral, structural, or physiological traits that increase a specie’s
chances of survival in a specific environment. Every living thing must fit in where it lives.
If it doesn’t, it simply won’t survive.