Question Video: Discriminating between Structural and Behavioral Adaptations Science

Which of the following is an example of a behavioral adaptation? [A] A stick insect camouflaging to its surroundings [B] The long beak of a hummingbird used to extract nectar from flowers [C] The large ears of a fennec fox that allow heat loss [D] Birds migrating in the winter

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Video Transcript

Which of the following is an example of a behavioral adaptation? (A) A stick insect camouflaging to its surroundings. (B) The long beak of a hummingbird used to extract nectar from flowers. (C) The large ears of a fennec fox that allow heat loss. Or (D) birds migrating in the winter.

This question is asking us to figure out which of the answer options is describing an example of a behavioral adaptation. Let’s start by exploring what a behavioral adaptation is before we take a look at the different answer options.

A behavioral adaptation is a specific action or behavior that an organism performs that makes it well suited to its specific environment and often helps it to survive. Which of the answer options show an example of this? The stick insect camouflaging or blending in to its surroundings is not showing an action or behavior an organism takes to aid its survival. Instead, its physical appearance is adapted to protect it against predators. This is an example of a different type of adaptation, a structural adaptation.

A structural adaptation is a special physical feature of an organism that makes it well suited to its environment. For example, a hummingbird’s long beak is also a structural adaptation, as it is a physical feature that helps the hummingbird to be well suited to its environment. Specifically, the long beak aids hummingbirds’ survival by allowing them to obtain food in the form of a sugary fluid produced by certain flowers called nectar. Similarly, the large ears of a fennec fox that help it to lose excess heat are a physical feature. These large ears are, therefore, a structural adaptation in response to the intense heat of the deserts in which the fennec fox lives.

As options (A), (B), and (C) are all structural adaptations, not behavioral adaptations, they can all be eliminated from our answer choices. Option (D) concerns the migration of birds in the winter. This involves birds or any other migrating animals moving vast distances in large groups from one region to another in response to seasonal changes in environmental conditions.

Migration is an action an organism might take to help their survival. By moving to warmer climates in the colder months of the year, they can more reliably obtain food and other resources. Therefore, migration is an example of a behavioral adaptation.

So, the correct answer to this question is (D), birds migrating in the winter.

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