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Question Set: Adaptations
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
  1. The following are all real strategies used by fishes living in extreme environments.
    Predict the habitat that this strategy might be effective in and explain your prediction.
    1. Anglerfish males are very small. They find a femail and become parasitic, with the male’s blood system becoming part of the female. She feeds him through their joined blood systems, and in return he provides sperm for her eggs. Neither reach sexual maturity (to save energy) until they are joined.
    2. Lungfish aestivate (a state similar to hibernation) in a mudball.
    3. Clingfishses have suction cups on their undersides.
    4. Mudskippers breathe through their skin.
    5. Mudminnows can freeze and thaw and still survive.
    6. Gulper eels have unhinging jaws and expandable stomachs, so they can swallow prey larger than themselves.
    7. Fluffy sculpins can make mental maps of complex terrain to find their way to a home site.
    8. Pricklebacks can squeeze into very tight crevices.
    9. Viperfishes have organs populated by light-producing bacteria.
    10. Notothenioids have anti-freeze in their blood.
  2. For each of the fishes in Table 4.20, describe a habitat where the fish would be well adapted to thrive

Table 4.20

Fish Description Habitat Description
This fish is a small schooling fish that usually swims around in the open water near the surface. It eats plankton. It is eaten by visually oriented, fast swimming predators like jacks.  
This fish is an herbivore. It usually remains near the bottom and doesn’t move very fast, but is good at maneuvering. It grazes on tufts of algae that grow on the surface of rocks and rubble. It is eaten by stalking predators like sea basses and also by highly maneuverable eels.  
This fish is a predator, but it is not very fast. It hunts smaller fish using its excellent vision and ambushing them. It lives in areas with a lot of coral and algae. It can be eaten by bigger fish like groupers and sand sharks.  
This fish is a fast-moving predator, but the prey it hunts are fast, too. It swims in the open ocean and hunts using its vision and sense of smell. It is very big and not usually eaten by other animals. It may even feed on animals larger than it is.  
This fish lives in the deepest parts of the sea where it’s not easy to survive. There is little or no light, and food is hard to find, not to mention other fishes to mate with.  
This fish lives in freshwater streams with fast moving currents. It is an herbivore, scraping algae off the rocks. It may be eaten by larger fish, or by some big invertebrates like crayfish.  
This fish lives in shallow reef flats. It is solitary, small, slow moving, and not very maneuverable. It eats reef-dwelling invertebrates like shrimps and worms.  
This fish lives in still freshwater ponds where there is a lot of plant growth and fallen tree branches. It eats the insects that fall into the water. It is eaten by lurking ambush predators like largemouth bass and pike.  
This fish eats clams, shrimp, and crabs buried in the mud. It often schools with others of its species. It lives on the bottom of sandy or muddy ocean flats. It is eaten by larger fish and seals.  


Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.