Essay, 4 pages (850 words)

Animal kingdom

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With the omission of both prokaryotes and protists, Kingdom Animalia generally contains all sorts of animal species. It is estimated that anywhere from nine to ten million exist on Earth – the exact number is not precisely known. Kingdom Animalia includes the following species: mammals, insects, birds, echinoderms, and etcetera. This paper examines the following in particular: elephants, armadillos, termites, butterflies, penguins, hummingbirds, starfishes, and sand dollars.

These species not only divide upon the two the same equivalence in characteristics, setting them apart from other species, but includes the fact that all are generally eukaryotic, multicellular, heterotrophic, lack cell walls, are motile, and usually pass through a blastula stage as animals. Elephants and armadillos are just two species out of the vast majority of existing mammals. These two share the same characteristics: warm-blooded; their young are born alive; and have lungs to breathe air. On the other hand, the two have apparent differences.

The body characteristics are the most evident. An elephant’s physical characteristics consist of its enormous size, have tusks, and even a trunk. An armadillo, however, is of moderate size, has hard armor-like skin, short legs, and have claws. Also, an elephant’s diet is usually plant flood, considering that it is an herbivore, while an armadillo uses its sharp claws to dig for grubs or insects. The elephant belongs to the Proboscidea, which only contains one family of living animals, the elephants – includes three species: African Bush Elephant, African Forest Elephant, and Asian Elephant.

The Proboscidea order classifies animals that feed by its trunk. The armadillo is only family in the order Cingulata, as well as a superorder Xenartha, which also includes anteaters and sloths. The Cingulata order classifies animals with girdlelike shells. Insects include many species, in particular, the termite and butterfly. These two insects generally share these characteristics: have an exoskeleton, have three main body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), and have antennas. On the other hand, they differ as well.

A termite’s diet usually feeds upon dead plant material (wood, leaf litter, soil, animal dung, crops, etcetera), while a butterfly usually sips liquid food through a tube-like proboscis, such as from rotting fruits or some even prefer animal flesh or fluids. Another major difference exists within the fact that termites are typically seen as pests to humans, as they cause much damage to buildings, crops, and plantation forests, while butterflies are viewed as being pleasant and attractive to the eye.

A termite is classified under the order Isoptera, which includes only termites, but is related to cockroaches and mantids in the superorder Dictyoptera. The order Isoptera simply means ‘ termites’. Butterflies are under the order Lepidoptera, which classifies insects as having a life cycle that includes stages of larval caterpillar, pupal, and metamorphism. Penguins and hummingbirds are both birds, and share the following characteristics: endothermic vertebrates, covered with feathers, and lay eggs.

On the other hand, chief differences exist as well. A penguin is aquatic, flightless birds that live in cold temperatures. Hummingbirds, however, hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings, can fly backwards, and feed from nectar or tiny anthropods from flower blossoms. Penguins belong to the order Sphenisciformes, which includes eighteen species such as chinstrap penguins, king penguins, and emperor penguins. The order Sphenisciformes classifies birds as flightless birds within cold temperatures – thus, penguins.

Hummingbirds belong to the order Apodiformes, which includes two other families – the swifts, Apodiadae and the tree swifts, Hemiprocnidae. The order Apodiformes, of the Greek word meaning “ a pous” or “ without foot”, are generally with small feet and short legs and cannot walk. Echinoderms have a variety of species, but we will only focus on two: starfishes and sand dollars. They share the following characteristics: two embryonic openings, the anus and the mouth; have no cephalisation; as larva, they are free-swimming bilaterally symmetrical organisms.

On the other hand, apparent contrasts exist between the two as well. Starfish have five or more arms, which extend from an indistinct disc, have a diet that includes shelled animals such as oysters and clams, and even are able to redevelop missing arms. However, sand dollars do not have “ arms” and have a round, flat shape. They have fire pores that move seawater within its vascular system, which permit the organism to move. They generally feed upon crustacean larvae, tiny copepods, detritus, algae, diatoms, and organic particles.

A starfish belongs to seven orders, which are the following: Brisingida, Forcipulatida, Paxillosida, Notomyotida, Spinulosida, Valvatida, and Velatida. Their shape, legs, and ability to regenerate classify them within these orders. Other species may include sea urchins and brittle stars. Sand dollars, on the other hand, are classified under the order Clypeasteroida, which have organisms with irregular echinoids and multiple ambulacral pores and tube feet for movement.

Without animal life, along with other living organisms of this world, life would not be the same – it’d be safe to say that it wouldn’t be the world we know now. These animals are as equally important as its neighbor, considering that we all exist together on one enormous planet. Regardless of what particular species, we all exist within a natural balance, and essentially, we are all one part or another of a food chain.

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