When you look at the world around you, how do you categorise or group what you see? In science, the broadest groupings are living and non-living. All living things share life processes such as growth and reproduction. Most scientists use seven life characteristics to determine whether something is living or non-living.

Sensitivity is one of the seven characteristics common to all living things … and it is also one of the most interesting characteristics.  In order to survive, living thing must sense, and respond to, the changing factors in their environment.

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Did you know …

Tiny fish grow a ‘third’ eye to distract predators

“Small prey fish can grow a bigger eye on their rear fins as a way of distracting predators and dramatically boosting their chances of survival, new scientific research has found.

Researchers from Australia’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) have made a world-first discovery that, when constantly threatened with being eaten, small damsel fish not only grow a larger false ‘eye spot’ near their tail – but also reduce the size of their real eyes.

The result is a fish that looks like it is heading in the opposite direction – potentially confusing predatory fish with plans to gobble them up, said Oona Lönnstedt, a graduate student at CoECRS and James Cook University.

“It all goes to show that even a very young, tiny fish a few millimetres long have evolved quite a range of clever strategies for survival which they can deploy when a threatening situation demands,” Ms Lonnstedt said.”

James Cook University – Tiny fish make ‘eyes’ at their killer

So what other characteristics do all living things have in common?

Why not use IntoScience to explore the characteristics of living things?!

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