Animals are divded into two main groups
Those with a backbone and internal skeleton (the vertebrates)
Those with no backbone and no internal skeleton (the invertebrates)
Often larger than the invertebrates, these animals all have bones in their body which support the skin and other organs
They are all warm-blooded which means that there body temperature does not change
eg The body temperature of a human is 37 °C
The vertebrates are separated into 5 smaller groups.
Each of these groups has speacial features which make them special
FISH eg: Minnow, cod, shark, goldfish
These live in water and are usually streamlined in shape. Their bodies are covered in scales and they have fins to help them move. They usually lay eggs and they get their oxygen from the water through their gills. Some fish have soft bones called cartilage, for example the sharks. Cod and herring have hard bones.
AMPHIBIANS eg Frog, toad, newt
Some of these also live in water but most have to live in moist areas. This is because they get a lot of their oxygen through their skin, not just through their lungs. The young hatch fom eggs in the water and they have gills. Frogs and toads are very similar. Newts have tails.
REPTILES eg Snake, lizard, crocodile, tortoise
Instead of moist skins the reptiles have dry, scaly skins. Most of them lay eggs, but not in the water. They use their lungs to get oxygen from the air. Tortoises live on land, but many turtles need to live in water. Crocodiles also like to live in water but can move fast on land. An adder is an example of a UK reptile.
BIRDS eg Thrush, robin, eagle, owl
These have feathers instead of scales, except on their legs and feet. All birds have wings but not all can fly. The kiwi and the emu can’t fly, and neither can the penguin, but it can move fast in water. Ducks float on the water.
MAMMALS eg Mouse, whale, dog, horse
These are all animals that suckle their young (feed them milk from the mother’s mammary glands). All mammals have hair or fur on their bodies. They are usually born alive although there are exceptions to this like the duck-billed platypus which hatch from eggs.
(Have an internal skeleton)
Usually smaller than the vertebrates these animals usually live in the soil or in water.
The have no bones although some have a stiff skin or a shell to give them shape or protection.
INSECTS eg Ant, butterfly, earwig, fly
Insects always have six legs and three parts to their body.
Some insects have either one or two pairs of wings
ARACHNIDS (sometimes just called ‘spiders’) eg Spider, scorpion
Arachnids (or spiders) always have eight legs.
They have two parts to thir body and they never have wings.
Some spiders and scorpians have a poisonous bite or sting.
MOLLUSCS eg snail, slug, octopus
The molluscs have a muscular foot and a soft body.
They have no legs.
Some molluscs have shell
Annelids eg earthworm
The most well known example of an annelid is the earthworm.
They have a long thin body wich is divided into little rings (segments).
They usually live in the soil.
- Further research
- Kidport: The animal kingdom: Useful site for learning about animals. Very good
- Earthlife Site about living things: links to mammals, insects, bacteria etc very good
- natural perspective: Journey through photographs from the main animal and plant groups
- University of California, Berkeley :Detailed description of major plant and animal groups