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Survival in Extreme Conditions

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Mr Wight
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22 Questions

What role does the giraffe play in the ecosystem described in the text?

It destroys the landscape with its hooves

What is one of the 'superpowers' possessed by Portia, the jumping spider?

Genius-level mapping of its surroundings in 3D.

What is the main advantage of the mudskipper spending most of its life out of the sea?

Access to more food sources than in the sea.

Why does the author mention that 'life on land is not without problems' for the mudskipper?

To highlight the struggle to maintain moisture on land.

What is the significance of the giraffe's interaction with the acacia tree in the ecosystem?

It demonstrates the interdependence of species in an ecosystem.

Which statement best describes Portia's hunting strategy?

Portia lures its prey by imitating struggling insects in its web.

What adaptation allows mudskippers to thrive on land?

Development of specialized skin glands to retain moisture.

In what way does Portia's 'supervised sight' aid its hunting ability?

It helps Portia differentiate between various types of prey.

What is one key difference between the mudskipper's life and that of most fish?

Mudskippers are more prone to drying out due to their environment.

What is the purpose of the acacia tree releasing powerful chemicals?

To deter predators from consuming its leaves.

Which organism has developed special proteins to prevent ice crystals from forming inside its cells?

Mountain stone

What is a vital food source for the mountain stone during warmer weather?

Mountain snow berries

What characteristic allows the secretary bird to strike its prey with a fatal blow?

Exceptionally long legs

Which animal takes dips during the heat of the day?

Leopard tortoise

What has suffered greatly from habitat loss in South Africa?

Giraffe population

Which species communicates through touch and feeds on decomposed matter?

African giant millipede

What is the largest biome in South Africa?

Savanna

Which animal has evolved peculiar adaptations to graze without competition?

Giraffe

Which animal can tolerate over 80% of its body freezing solid for weeks at a time?

Mountain stone

What has disappeared by 75% in the last 50 years?

Large-scale African savannah

What enables the African giant millipede to recycle dead waste into new soil?

Around three to four hundred legs

What is the mountain stone's ancestral habitat before New Zealand's mountains grew beneath them?

Warm wet forests

Study Notes

  • Music in the text refers to a type of organism that can survive near lethal temperatures and come back from being frozen solid.
  • This organism is a mountain stone, which has developed special proteins to prevent ice crystals from forming inside its cells.
  • The mountain stone's ancestors once lived in prehistoric warm wet forests, but when New Zealand's mountains grew up beneath them around five million years ago, they evolved this ability to survive near freezing temperatures.
  • Defrosting uses up a lot of energy, so mountain snow berries are an important food source for the mountain stone during warmer weather.
  • The weather needs to stock up on energy during warmer weather, as the next Antarctic storm could bring winter back.
  • The mountain stone can tolerate over 80% of its body freezing solid and can do so day in and day out for weeks at a time.
  • In South Africa, animals have also evolved to survive in harsh environments.
  • The savanna, the largest biome in South Africa, is a mixture of shrubs and trees dominated by grassland.
  • The secretary bird, a large bird endemic to sub-saharan Africa, spends most of its time on the ground walking around in search of prey.
  • It uses its exceptionally long legs to strike its prey with a fatal blow, delivering a kick that's the equivalent of five times its own body weight.
  • The leopard tortoise, the only member of the tortoise family without a scoop on the top of its neck, has the ability to raise its head and often takes dips during the heat of the day.
  • The African giant millipede, the largest millipede species in the world, has around three to four hundred legs and communicates through touch.
  • It feeds on decomposed matter, recycling dead waste which becomes new soil, making it vital for the savanna ecosystem.
  • Large-scale African savannah has disappeared by 75% in the last 50 years, and the giraffe population has suffered greatly from habitat loss.
  • However, in South Africa, their population is increasing.
  • Giraffes have evolved peculiar adaptations to graze without competition, including huge long tongues that are pigmented to protect them from the sun and skin that helps them regulate their body temperature.
  • Giraffes are capable of traveling more than 10 miles a day.

Test your knowledge of extreme survival techniques in the natural world with this quiz. Explore how various organisms endure harsh environments and extreme weather conditions to survive. From withstanding freezing temperatures to bouncing back from the brink of death, see if you can identify these remarkable survival strategies.

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