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Topic – The Animal Kingdom

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Read the Following Selection

Read about the animal kingdom, or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

The Animal Kingdom

Tortoises have an exoskeleton AND an endoskeleton

All animals share these characteristics:

  multicellular

  rely on other organisms for food

  can move around or move parts of their bodies to get food

  most need two individuals to reproduce

All animals can be divided into two main groups: vertebrates and invertebrates. Vertebrates have a spinal cord surrounded by a backbone. Invertebrates do not. All vertebrates are in the phylum Chordata, which includes amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals. Invertebrates are divided into many phyla (the plural of phylum). These include annelids (worms), and molluscs such as snails and clams. The phylum Arthropod has sub-phyla that contain insects, crustaceans, and arachnids.

Only about 5 percent of animals are vertebrates. How much do you know about invertebrates?

Characteristics of Invertebrates

Phylum/Sub-phylum

Examples

Characteristics

Insects

• butterfly

• ant

• grasshopper

• fly

• six jointed legs

• three body parts

• almost all have wings

• exoskeleton (outer skeleton)

Arachnids

• spider

• scorpion

• tick

• mite

• usually eight jointed legs

• exoskeleton

• two body sections

• lay eggs

Crustaceans

• crab

• lobster

• barnacle

• exoskeleton

• two body parts

• jointed legs or claws

• two pairs of antennae

Annelids

• earthworm

• flatworm

• leech

• segmented bodies

• no limbs

• most are covered with short bristles

Molluscs

• snail

• octopus

• oyster

• soft body

• either external or internal shell

•some have a foot used for moving, attaching to things, or getting food, while others have eight or more tentacles


Now, show what you know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.