Notes - Plants and Animals

Category : 4th Class

Plants and Animals

 

Plants and animals are found practically everywhere. Some live on land, some under water and some in air. The surroundings where organisms live is called their HABITAT.

 

Interesting Fact

  •            If the spine of barrel cactus accidentally pricks , one may need to take antibiotics to combat its effects

 

Do know 

  •           There are seven families of conifers. The largest is the pine family

 

 

ADAPTATIONS

Adaptations are special features in plants and animals which help them to survive in the habitats they live in. Over a long period, plants in a specific environment have developed special features which help them to live and grow in that particular habitat.

 

 

1. Terrestrial Plants [Plants Living on Land]

Plants that grow on land are called terrestrial plants. There are various kinds of terrestrial plants depending on different habitats.

 

               (i)      Plants on mountains (cold hilly areas):

In hilly areas like Ooty, Kashmir, Darjeeling, and the Himalayan ranges including Himachal Pradesh, the weather is cold in winter. Heavy snowfall can also be seen in these places. The plants that grow in these areas are tall and have a conical shape. They are flowerless. Instead of flowers, they have cones with seeds inside them. Leaves of these plants are needle-like. They have a wax coating to prevent any damage from snow. They have a triangular or conical crown. The sloping, shape of the trees makes the snow fall off easily.

 

               Coniferous trees: The trees that have straight and tall trunks to protect them from winter are called coniferous trees. They have needle- like leaves. The main plants of these areas are pine, spruce, cedar (deodar), and fir trees.

 

 

               (ii)     Plants in the plains: In plains, the weather is hot summers and cold in winters. The trees and plants us the plains mostly have many branches and lush green crowns. Teak, babul, shisham , palash, etc., are some of the common trees in the plains.

 

Do you know

  •             Approximately 75% of the species of trees found in the eastern deciduous forest of North America are deciduous trees.

 

Teak                         Babul                      Shisham

 

(a) Evergreen trees:  Trees that remain green throughout the year are called evergreen trees. The trees shed their leaves throughout the year and keep growing the new ones. The examples include pine tree and spruce tree.

 

Interesting Fact

  •             Evergreen tree can be found on every continent except Antarctica

 

(b) Deciduous trees: Some trees like oak, maple, birch and beech trees shed all their leaves in winter called deciduous trees. New leaves grow in spring.

 

                (iii)    Plants in hot and damp areas: Many kinds of plan grow best where it is hot and wet. Eastern ai western seacoasts of South India are such regions Palm, tamarind, rubber, and coconut are some of the trees that grow well in this type of climate. The trees in such areas evergreen and they usually have a large number of leaves and they do not shed the leaves in winter.

                 (iv)     Plants in marshy land: Place where soil is very sticky and clayey is called marshy land. It is very difficult for plants to grow here because air cannot reach the roots; then how do plants survive in us areas? The plants hove breathing roots that grow above the ground to take in the air. Such roots are called aerial or breathing root. The trees that grow here are called mangroves.

 

             Do you know

  •            There are about 80 different species of mangrove trees

 

               (v)      Plants on seacoast: These include plants that can survive in salty water. They prefer the area where there is heavy rainfall.  The seeds of these plants are seeds by water. The trees are tall and straight, which allow the wind to pass through. The example includes coconut tree.

 

              Interesting Fact

  •             The tallest palm tree can grow up to 197 feet tall

             (vi)     Plants of the grass family. Some common varieties of plants that belong to the grass family are rice wheat, jowar, bajra, sugarcane, bamboo, etc. plants of this family provide food for us and animals they are usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base.

 

               Do you Know

  •             Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet Earth

 

 

              (vii)     Plants in deserts: The desert is very dry and of hot. There is a lot of direct sunlight shining on plants. The soil is often sandy or rocky and to hold much water. The plants that live here are exposed to extreme temperatures and drought conditions. Have you ever thought how do plan survive in such hot and dry deserts where there shortage of water?

  •            Desert plants normally have small leaves so the there is less evaporation of water on hot an sunny days.                          
  •            The leaves are like sharp spines. This prevents loss of water from the leaves. 
  •          The process of photosynthesis is carried out the stems. The plant stores food and water its thick and fleshy stems covered with thorn
  •            The waxy layer on the stem helps to reduce of water,  
  •            They have roots, which spread deep into ground in search of water.

The examples include cactus plants, date palms, etc.

 

                   Interesting Fact

  •             Brazil is the largest producers of sugared in the world

2. AQUATIC PLANTS [PLANTS LIVING IN WATER]

Plants growing in water called aquatic plants. There are different kinds of aquatic plant depending on different habitats

There are three types of aquatic plants. They are:

(i) Floating plants, (ii) Fixed plants, (ii) under water plants

 

(i)      Floating plants: Some plants that float on water are called floating plants. They have spongy bodies. Like a sponge, there are lots of empty spaces throughout their body that are filled with air. This makes the plants light enough to float. Some plants like duckweed, green-algae, wolfia, water-hyacinth and pistia are the floating plants that float freely on top of water.

(i)           Fixed plants: Some plants like water lily and lotus have roots that are fixed to the bottom of the pond. They are known as fixed aquatic plants. They have plate-like leaves that float over the surface of water. The surface of the leaves have stomata. The stomata are holes present under the surface of leaves. These holes help the plant to breathe.

 Interesting fact

  •            Seaweed is a type of marine Algae. It in very deep waters. Up to 690 feet below the sea surfac
  •            Cactus can survive from few to 300 years. Depending on the species
  •             Animals have long hair and snow leopard that thick fur all over protects them from cold climate.
  •            Yak and snow leopard that thick fur all over protects them from cold climate
  •            The he mountain goat has strong hooves to climb on mountain slopes easily.

 

(b)     Adaptations of animals found in grassland: Animals found in this region are lion, deer, etc.

  •            The light brown skin colour of lion blends easily with the colour of dry grass in frass lands and helps them in catching their prey
  •            Lions have sharp teeth and strong claws to tear and eat their prey
  •            Also they have eyes in front of their faces which help them in identifying the prey from long distances
  •            Their senses are well-developed. This helps them to look for food and escape from enemies

 

(c)   Animals in the polar region: In the Polar Regions, animals have to face harsh winters. Animals living in these regions have thick hair coat on the skin and at under it, which keeps them warm. Such animals are polar bears, penguins, etc.

(i) Polar bear: A polar bear is adapted to live in the arctic region where it is very cold.

 

Adaptive Features  

  •            They have thick waterproof fur on the skin for insulation.
  •             They have thick layer of fat for insulation and food storage.
  •            Their soles are covered with fur to keep their feet warm and to provide good grip when walking on ice.
  •            The white fur of the polar bear helps it To blend in with its snowy surrounding so that difficult for its prey to detect it. 

Interesting Fact

  •            A female icon lion needs 5 kg meat a day. A male needs 7 kg or more a day
  •            Lion run at a speed of up to 81 kmph.
  •           Male dear grow new antlers each year.

 

          (ii)  Penguins: They are found in cold regions. They are flightless birds but they are good swimmers.

 

Interesting Facts

  •           Penguins do not have teeth. Instead, they beak to grab and hold their prey.
  •            Most penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.
  •            Male polar bear can weigh up to 800 kg and are twice the size of famales.

 

ADAPTIVE FEATURES

  •            Penguins huddle up together to keep   themselves warm.
  •            Penguins have a layer of oily waterproof   feathers and a thick layer of fat under the skin keep them warm.
  •            Forelimbs are modified to flippers that help swimming.
  •            They have strong and long beaks with serrated margins that helps in catching the fish.
  •            The black colour of their back helps in hiding from predator when they are swimming.

(d) Animals in deserts: Deserts are very hot during the day, but become cold at night. Animals have to adapt to these conditions, and also have to live with very little water. Animals living in a desert have skin with less hair. Desert animals are camels, desert rat, desert snake, etc.

 

Desert rat and snake survive in the heat of the day by staying in burrow. They come out at night when it is a

A camel has several adaptations that help it to survive a desert habitat, such as

  •            They have a huge hump where fat is stored. Can live without food for several days.
  •             Camels can drink plenty of water at a time arm can stay without water for a long time.
  •            Camel excretes very little water in the form of urine their dung is dry.
  •             They do not sweat.
  •             They have long legs that keep their body away from sand.  
  •            Camels have thick lips so they can eat the prickly desert plants without feeling pain.
  •             Camel's ears ore covered with hair, even on their side. The hair helps keep out sand or dust that might blow into the animal's ears.

 

(2) Aquatic Animals: Animals living in water are called aquatic animals. Different kinds of fish and several other        animals like crabs, dolphins, whales, and octopus live in water.

Adaptive Features of Animals Found in Aquatic Habitat

  •            Fish have streamlined body.
  •            Body is covered with mucous and scales to make it waterproof.
  •            They have gills for breathing underwater.
  •           They have flat fins and tails.
  •           They have air bladders that help them to float.
  •           Sea animals like squids and octopus do not have streamlined body but they make their body streamlined when they move in water.
  •           Dolphins and whales do not have gills. They have to come up to the water surface to breathe.

 

(3) Amphibians: Animals living on both land and water are called amphibians. The examples include frogs, ducks, crocodiles, salamanders, etc.

 

Adaptive Features of Amphibians

  •           Amphibians have webbed toes. 
  •            They have lungs to breathe on land, while water they breathe through their skin.
  •            They have legs which help them to move on Ion and to swim in water.

 

Do you know

  •            Amphibians are considered veriebrates as they have a backbone.
  •            Bats can live for over 20 year

 

4.         Arboreal Animals: Animals that spend most of their time on trees are known as arboreal animals. Some animals living on trees are monkeys, squirrels; garden lizard, etc.

 Adaptive Features of Arboreal Animal

  •            They have strong arms and legs to climb trees. They use their strong claws and legs to cling and hang on to the branches of a tree.
  •            A monkey uses its long, muscular tail to coil around branches while swinging from branch to branch.

 

5.  Aerial Animals: Animals that spend most of their time in air are called aerial animals. They have wings instead of front legs. Animals that can fly are birds and bats.

 

   Adaptive Features of Aerial Animals

  •            Their bodies are covered with feathers.
  •            Their bones are hollow and light. This makes their bodies light and helps in flying.
  •            Such animals have wings to fly and legs to walk on the land.

 Adaptation For protection In Animals

Animals are hunted and eaten by other animals. So they need to adapt themselves in different ways to protect

Themselves from their enemies.

 

  •             Some animals protect themselves by running away from their enemies. Some animals can run very fast Such as deer, mice, and zebras.

Do you know

  •           The ears of zebra show its mood

 

Camouflage: Camouflage is the ability of an animal to blend with its surroundings, making it difficult to see the animal.

 

 

For example:

  •             A stick insect looks almost like a twig. It has a same shape and colour as the leaves on which it feeds.
  •            Chameleons can change the colour of their skin to match their surroundings.
  •            Caterpillars and grasshoppers are green in colour. They blend with the green leaves on which they live so their predators or prey cannot see them easily.
  •           The white fur of a polar bear matches with the surrounding snow, making it difficult to spot the bear.
  •           The stripes on a zebra or tiger make them hard to see in the forest.

 

  •           Some animals have spines or shells on their bodies to protect themselves.  
  •          When porcupines and hedgehog sense danger, the roll up into a ball. It then becomes very difficult for the enemy to attack it.  

  •             Tortoises and snails have hard shells covering the bodies. They withdraw into their shells when they are in danger.                                 
  •             Some animals like opossums and snakes pretend to be dead when they are in danger.

  •            The globefish can blow itself up to twice its normal size so that it looks bigger and scares away its enemy.

 

  •           Some animals live in the ground. Animals like earthworms and moles are slow movers. They burrow into the ground to escape from their enemies,
  •           Some animals like rhinoceros and buffaloes stand and fight. They use their horns for fighting.
  •          Some animals are poisonous. They use their poisonous bite or stings to protect themselves from their enemies and to kill their prey.
  •          Wasps, scorpions, and centipedes protect themselves by using their painful and poisonous stings.
  •            Snakes like cobras, vipers, sea snakes are feared because they are poisonous snakes.

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Notes - Plants and Animals
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