III. ADAPTATIONS TO ENVIRONMENT
We saw in a previous chapter how the process of evolution led to a mastery of all the haunts of life. But it is necessary to return to these haunts or homes of animals in some detail, so as to understand the peculiar circumstances of each, and to see how in the course of ages of struggle all sorts of self-preserving and race-continuing adaptations or fitnesses have been wrought out and firmly established. Living creatures have spread over all the earth and in the waters under the earth; some of them have conquered the underground world and others the air. It is possible, however, as has been indicated, to distinguish six great haunts of life, each tenanted by a distinctive fauna, namely, the shore of the sea, the open sea, the depths of the sea, the freshwaters, the dry land, and the air. In the deep sea there are no plants at all; in the air the only plants are floating bacteria, though there is a sense in which a tree is very aerial, and the orchid perched on its branches still more so; in the other four haunts there is a flora as well as a fauna—the two working into one another's hands in interesting and often subtle inter-relations—the subject of a separate study.