How Do Cave Animals Adapt?
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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.
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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