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Biology LibreTexts

12: Diverstity of Animals

  • Page ID
    52672
    • 12.1: Features of the Animal Kingdom
      Animals constitute a diverse kingdom of organisms. Although animals range in complexity from simple sea sponges to human beings, most members share certain features. Animals are eukaryotic, multicellular, heterotrophic organisms that ingest their food and usually develop into motile creatures with a fixed body plan. Most members of the animal kingdom have differentiated tissues of four main classes—nervous, muscular, connective, and epithelial—that are specialized to perform different functions.
    • 12.2: Sponges and Cnidarians
      Animals included in phylum Porifera are parazoans and do not possess true tissues. These organisms show a simple organization. Sponges have multiple cell types that are geared toward executing various metabolic functions. Cnidarians have outer and inner tissue layers sandwiching a noncellular mesoglea. Cnidarians possess a well-formed digestive system and carry out extracellular digestion. The cnidocyte is a specialized cell for delivering toxins to prey and predators.
    • 12.3: Flatworms, Nematodes, and Arthropods
      Flatworms are acoelomate, triploblastic animals. They lack circulatory and respiratory systems, and have a rudimentary excretory system. The digestive system is incomplete in most species. There are four traditional classes of flatworms, the largely free-living turbellarians, the ectoparasitic monogeneans, and the endoparasitic trematodes and cestodes. Trematodes have complex life cycles involving a secondary mollusk host and a primary host in which sexual reproduction takes place.
    • 12.4: Mollusks and Annelids
      The phylum Mollusca is a large, mainly marine group of invertebrates. Mollusks show a variety of morphologies. Many mollusks secrete a calcareous shell for protection, but in other species, the shell is reduced or absent. Mollusks are protostomes. The dorsal epidermis in mollusks is modified to form the mantle, which encloses the mantle cavity and visceral organs. This cavity is distinct from the coelomic cavity, which the adult animal retains, surrounding the heart.
    • 12.5: Echinoderms and Chordates
      Echinoderms are deuterostome marine organisms. This phylum of animals bear a calcareous endoskeleton composed of ossicles covered by a spiny skin. Echinoderms possess a water-based circulatory system. The madreporite is the point of entry and exit for water for the water vascular system. The characteristic features of Chordata are a notochord, a dorsal hollow nerve cord, pharyngeal slits, and a post-anal tail. Chordata contains two clades of invertebrates together with the vertebrates.
    • 12.6: Vertebrates
      The earliest vertebrates that diverged from the invertebrate chordates were the jawless fishes. Hagfishes are eel-like scavengers that feed on dead invertebrates and other fishes. Lampreys are characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth, and some species are parasitic on other fishes. Gnathostomes include the jawed fishes (cartilaginous and bony fishes) as well as all other tetrapods. Cartilaginous fishes include sharks, rays, skates, and ghost sharks.

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