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Biodiversity : The Variety of Life on Earth Index

Biodiversity
Collecting, Describing and Classifying
How Biologists Classify Species : Similarities and Differences
Putting Things into Groups

Topic Chapters Index

 

The images hyperlink to more information about each group

Bacteria Kingdom

Bacteria icon  Bacteria

Protoctista Kingdom

Protoctista icon  Protoctista

Fungi Kingdom

Fungi icon  Fungi

 

The Plant Kingdom

Moss icon  Mosses and Liverworts
Fern icon  Ferns
Conifer icon  Conifers
Flowering Plant icon  Flowering Plants

 

The Animal Kingdom

Invertebrate Groups

Medusa icon Jellyfish
Sea slug icon (photo by Paul Billiet) Molluscs
Starfish icon Starfish
Earthworm icon Worms

 

Arthropods

Swimming crab icon Crustaceans
Beetle icon (photo by Paul Billiet) Insects
Giant millipede icon Myriapods
Tarantula icon Spiders

 

BIODIVERSITY : PUTTING THINGS INTO GROUPS

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The Animal Kingdom

The animal kingdom can be divided into many phyla. There are eight phyla shown: jellyfish, flat worms, round worms, ringed worms, starfish, molluscs, arthropods and the chordate phylum. All but the last phylum, are referred to as invertebrates because they have no skeleton. The last one, the chordate phylum, is made up of animals which have a skeleton. Such animals are called vertebrates.

It is possible to divide a phylum into smaller groups. The arthropod phylum can be divided into groups such as crustaceans and insects. The chordate phylum can be divided up into groups such as fish, reptiles, and mammals

 

Chordate Phylum: Fishes: The goldfish

The goldfish is a type of carp found living wild in the Far East from Southern China to Korea. It was domesticated in China as early as 950 AD. Today, domesticated gold fish can be found all over the world and in many different shapes and forms.

Goldfish eggs need a temperature of 25°C to hatch properly but the adult fish can live between 20°C and 30°C. Some goldfish have even been found living in European rivers especially near power stations where the water is warm.

 

A goldfish © Paul Billiet

 

Chordate Phylum: Amphibians: The common frog

This frog is found all over Europe north of the Pyrenees and the Alps. It is found where the atmosphere is humid but it can be found far away from open water. In the breeding season the adults will migrate back to ponds and streams to mate and lay eggs. The mating calls of the males can be heard in early spring. Each female may lay up to 2000 eggs which form a mass of jelly called spawn. The tadpoles hatch from the eggs but after a few weeks they develop into small frogs which leave the water. Frogs and other amphibians are becoming rarer because of human activities (draining marshland and polluting water).

 

Frog © Paul Billiet

 

Chordate Phylum: Reptiles: The common wall lizard

This lizard is found throughout most of southern Europe and the Near East. It can grow to about 20 cm long (including the tail). It is often found living on the walls of houses where it hunts insects. These lizards like high temperatures so they are found most active at the hottest time of the day. When they are attacked they can lose their tail which carries on wriggling in the grip of the predator! Lizards can grow a new tail but it is never as long as the original one.

 

Wall lizard coming out of its hole © Paul Billiet

 

Chordate Phylum: Birds: The herring gull

This gull is found all along the coasts of Europe and often far inland. They are large birds having a wingspan of 55 cm. They are scavengers feeding on what they can find along the seashore. Out at sea they will follow ships, especially fishing boats and inland they will feed at rubbish dumps. This bird has benefited from human activity.

 

Seagulls, Yorkshire, UK © Shirley Burchill

 

Chordate Phylum: Mammals: The hedgehog

The hedgehog is found throughout Europe into western Siberia and up to the Arctic circle. It has a fat body, 20 to 30 cm long, covered with about 6000 spines and it has a short tail. Hedgehogs are found in many different habitats. They have come to appreciate human habitations where they live happily in parks and gardens.

Many hedgehogs, however, are run over by motor vehicles at night. This is partly due to their behaviour: when they are attacked they curl up into a ball of spines. This is no protection from a car! Hedgehogs themselves prey mainly on insects.

 

 Hedgehog © Paul Billiet

 

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