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How Do Cave Animals Adapt?

Troglabitic Harvestman
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Develop New Ways of Sensing Where Food Is and Get Rid of Those Useless Eyes

Life in a cave (where it is dark all the time) is very different than on the surface of the Earth.

Some differences are:

  • There is no harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation
  • There is no light to tell you when to get up and when to sleep
  • Eyes are useless because it is always dark, which makes it impossible to see
  • There are no harsh winter conditions to escape
  • There are no green plants to form the base of the food chain
  • Food is often hard to find

The lack of light and the scarcity of food in caves are what are called selective pressures.

Picture of a Troglabitic Harvestman
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The troglobitic Harvestman (daddy long-legs) above is a great example of how a cave animal adapts.

Organisms adapt to their environment and to the selective pressures present.

In order to adapt an animal that lives its life in a cave may do some of the following:

  • Dump parts of its body that aren't useful
  • Simplify the way it lives to not waste so much energy
  • It will want to find food and avoid predators faster

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Why Do Cave Animals Adapt?