We all know that animals have the amazing ability to adapt to their surroundings in a variety of ways to ensure their survival. But what happens to animals when their environment alters rapidly in response to industrialisation or urbanisation? Are the animals able to adapt quickly to these changes? Many animals are very successful while yet others are not so fortunate.
Let’s meet an amazing insect that has kept up with changes in its environment remarkably well. The peppered moth is one of the best known examples of evolution by natural selection earning it the nickname, ‘Darwin’s moth’.
Normally found in the British countryside, this moth obtained its name because of its white background with black speckles across its wings. This is an adaptation that helps it to blend in with the lichen covered tree trunks that it uses as resting spots. However, in the 19th century, scientists noted that that the black version of the peppered moth was prevalent in British urban areas (towns and cities). Walls and tree trunks in urban areas had been blackened by soot from coal fires and pollutants from industries. Therefore a black moth was less likely to be spotted by predators than the pale, peppered version.
Amazing isn’t it? Keep watching this space as we meet another amazing animal that has amazing adaptive abilities very soon.