Classification of Animals
• Chordate Phylum
Reptiles are a class of the chordate phylum. They have scaly skin
and feet with claws on their toes. Both the babies and the adults
breathe through lungs. They have a breastbone called a sternum to
protect the heart and lungs. The female's eggs are fertilized in her
body by the male. The eggs are laid in a shell that has a leathery
covering to protect it in the wilds. The common reptiles are
snakes, turtles, lizards alligators and crocodiles.
Birds are a class of the chordates or vertebrate phylum. They are
similar to other chordates in that they have a backbone. They are
unique in the fact that they are covered with feathers and fly.
Mammals are a class in the chordate phylum. Mammals are like
other chordates in that they have backbones. Mammals have
several distinct characteristics: they have hair on their bodies,
they nurse their young and they have live birth rather than laying
Fish are the class of chordates that live completely in water. Their
bodies have three main parts; the head, the trunk of the body and
the tail. Their bodies are covered in scales and also a protective
slime. They are important as a food source for animals.
Amphibians are one of the classes of chordates. The
word amphibian means both sides of life. This is because the
amphibian begins its life in the water and then finishes it
mainly on land. The change of an animal in its appearance from
baby to adult is called metamorphosis. An amphibian goes
through metamorphosis as it grows from a baby to an adult.
The amphibian, because it must be moist, sometimes hides out
in the summer as if hibernating. This is called estivation.
A mollusk is Soft-bodied animals that sometimes have a hard
shell another name for a shellfish. There are three groupings of
shellfish. They include:
Hatchet-footed - These live inside of two shells that are connected by a
muscular hinge which can open and close the shell. They are referred to as
bivalves. Lines on the shell tell how old the mollusk is as the shell gets bigger,
the older the shellfish gets. Clams, scallops, oysters and mussels are bivalves.
2. Belly-footed - These have just one spiral shell and carry their shells on their
backs. They are called univalves. The snail, slug, periwinkle and conch belong
to this group.
3. Head-footed - These have a definite head surrounded by tentacles. The squid
and octopus are two in this group.
• Phylum Echinodermata
This means "spiny skinned" in Greek. Echinoderms live in salt
water only. They sgenerally have five arms and dwell at the bottom
of oceans' levels. There are around 6000 species of echinoderms.
The starfish, sea urchin, sea cucumber and sand dollar are some
Flatworms are the simplest of the worm groups. They are found
many places and can be free living or parasitic. A parasite lives
off of another living thing called a host and can be harmful. One
of the best known flatworms is the tapeworm. The tapeworm can
get into a person's digestive tract and grow to enormous lengths.
The tapeworm then eats off the host and is dangerous to the
host as it grows and consumes more of the host and its food.
Flatworms are found in marine and fresh water.
• Phylum Nematoda
Roundworms are a member of the nemathelminths phylum or
group of animals. The hookworm, pinworm and trichinella are
part of this group. They are more advanced than flatworms but
less advanced than earthworms. They have thin round bodies,
with none of the pieces or segments that earthworms have in
their bodies. Roundworms live in salt water, fresh water and the
soil. Many of them are harmful to man as they are parasites.
• Phylum Cnidaria
Corals belong to a group or phylum that includes hydras,
jellyfish, and sea anemones called coelenerates. They are
frequently symbiotic. This means that it and another living thing
live off of each other without one harming the other.
Coelenterates live in the sea. They give off poisonous toxins to
protect themselves from predators.
• Phylum Annelida
They are divided into segments or parts. They are found in salt
and fresh water as well as in the soil. Earthworms are helpful to
man as bait for fishing and more importantly, because they
loosen the soil for roots to grow.
The protozoa are one-celled animals and the smallest of all
animals. Most of them can only be seen under a microscope.
They do breathe, move, and reproduce like multicelled animals.
They live in water or at least where it is damp. Animals in this
group include the paramecium, the euglena and the ameba.
Some protozoans are harmful to man as they can cause serious
diseases. Others are helpful because they eat harmful bacteria
and are food for fish and other animals.
• Phylum Arthropoda
Arthropods are animals with a hard exoskeleton, like a suit of armour, with joints in
it to allow them to move, and they can only grow by shedding this and growing a
new one. The phylum arthropoda is divided into
Arachnid a kind of animal that has eight legs and a body formed
of two parts
Crustacean a type of animal that has several pairs of legs and a
body made up of sections that are covered in a hard outer shell
Myriapod any of a group (Myriapoda) of arthropods having the
body made up of numerous similar segments nearly all of which
bear true jointed legs
Insects any of a class (Insecta) of arthropods) with well-defined
head, thorax, and abdomen, only three pairs of legs, and
typically one or two pairs of wings
• Phylum Porifera
Sponges are considered the oldest of the animal phyla. The name
Porifera means "pore bearer" in Latin. The surface of a sponge's
body is covered by a skin, one cell thick. This skin is penetrated
by numerous small pores and a few large openings. These are
respectively the entrances and exits for a complex system of
canals and chambers through which the sponge pumps a
current of water.
• Phylum Rotifera
Rotifers are typically transparent, but can appear to be
green, brown, red, or orange, depending on the colouration
of the digestive tract. Even though they are small, they do
have organs, including a mastax, which grinds the food, a
pharynx and esophagus, a stomach, reproductive organs,
the intestine, an anus, a bladder, etc. They also have a
nervous system consisting of nerves that extend to the
sensory organs and other areas of the body. The nerves send
messages to and from the "brain", a mass of cells known as a ganglia. The
sensory organs consist of bristles on the corona, antennae, and one or two
eyes that contain a few photo receptors.
Rotifers are typically found in freshwater. However, some species are marine,
terrestrial, or even parasitic. Most spend solitary lives, but some live in
colonies. They move by crawling or swimming, but may do neither, living
sessile lives anchored to one spot.
Classification of Plants
Seedless Vascular Plants
Ferns a type of plant that has large, delicate leaves and no
flowers. any of a division (Filicophyta) or class (Filicopsida) of
flowerless spore-producing vascular plants having alternating
sporophyte and gametophyte generations; especially : any of an
order (Filicales) of homosporous plants possessing roots, stems,
and leaflike fronds
Horsetails A member of a genus, Equisetum, of seedless vascular
plants having a jointed hollow stem and narrow, sometimes much
reduced leaves. Plants extremely similar to modern horsetails are
known from fossils 300 million years old. The horsetails are the
last surviving members of the phylum Sphenophyta, which
dominated the forests of the Devonian and Carboniferous periods.
Whisk ferns lack most typical plant organs. The plant has
no roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, or seeds. It consists
primarily of stems. Besides reaching about 1 foot above the
soil surface, the stems extend beneath the soil, branching to
form a network of smaller stems to hold the plant erect and
absorb water and minerals for nutrition.
Club Mosses have horizontal branching stems, both
underground and above. These stems will send up shoots
that will hold the flowering portion of the plant. The shoots
can range from 1/2 inch high to over one foot. These plants
produce spores in a cone like structure at the end of the
stem. The spores are shed and they germinate on good soil.
Once the spores germinate, they develop into a "thallus"
which then produce male and female egg cells. These cells
then reproduce to form the new plant.
Mosses a type of green plant that has very small leaves and no
flowers and that grows on rocks, bark, or wet ground. They
commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or
shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their
simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems. At certain times mosses
produce spore capsules which may appear as beak-like
capsules borne aloft on thin stalks.
Hornwort is a flowerless, spore-producing plant - with the
spores typically produced in a tapering, horn-like or needlelike capsule which develops from a flattish, green sheet.
Vascular seed plants
Cycad is any of various evergreen plants that live in tropical
and subtropical regions, have large feathery leaves, and
resemble palm trees in that most leaves cluster around the top
of the stem. Cycads are gymnosperms that bear conelike
reproductive structures at the top of the stem, with male and
female cones borne on different plants.
Conifers are cone-bearing seed plants. Most are trees; some
are shrubs. They are formally the Division Pinophyta or
Coniferophyta. Conifers are Gymnosperms. They are cone-bearing
seed plants with vascular tissue; all living conifers are woody
plants, the great majority being trees.
Gingko A deciduous, dioecious tree (Ginkgo biloba) which is the
sole surviving member of the Ginkgoales, an order of
gymnosperms. It has fan-shaped leaves and fleshy yellowish
seeds containing a edible kernel.
Gnetae are gymnospermous flowering plants; supposed link
between conifers and angiosperms; in some systems classified
as a class (Gnetopsida) and in others as a subdivision
(Gnetophytina or Gnetophyta)
as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse
group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing
plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished
from the gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies.
These characteristics include flowers, endosperm within
the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the
seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that
produces seeds within an enclosure; they are fruiting
plants, although more commonly referred to as flowering plants.