Aquatic Plants and Animals

Aquatic plants are plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments (saltwater or freshwater). They are also referred to as hydrophytes or macrophytes. These plants require special adaptations for living submerged in water, or at the waters surface. The most common adaptation is aerenchyma, but floating leaves and finely dissected leaves are also common. Aquatic plants can only grow in water or in soil that is permanently saturated with water.

They are therefore a common component of wetlands. An aquatic animal is an animal, either vertebrate or invertebrate, which lives in water for most or all of its life. Many insects such as mosquitoes, mayflies, dragonflies and caddisflies have aquatic larvae, with winged adults. Aquatic animals may breathe air or extract oxygen from that dissolved in water through specialised organs called gills, or directly through the skin. Natural environments and the animals that live in them can be categorized as aquatic (water) or terrestrial (land).


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