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Vertebrate Vs. Invertebrate: Curious Animal Differences Facts For Kids!

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Animals are divided into two groups, vertebrates and invertebrates.

Vertebrates are animals like birds and mammals. Invertebrates are insects and worms and other creepy crawlies.

Vertebrates have backbones and an internal skeleton of cartilage, bones, and brains that are protected by a skull. Invertebrate animals are without a backbone, a vertebral column, or a spine. The vertebrate's sensory organs are well developed, with a respiratory system that has lungs or gills and an advanced nervous system that sets them apart from invertebrates.

Vertebrates are separated into two groups, one group with jaws is called Gnathostomata, and the other group without jaws is called Agnatha. These animals have a good body structure as they are vertebrates. Most vertebrates can move but can not make their own food, while the invertebrates can make their own food. The majority of invertebrates are tiny due to not having a proper skeletal system, vertebral column, or backbone as compared to the vertebrates. Vertebrates have lungs, gills, bones, and a good structure. Invertebrates have two body plans where one is the radial symmetry plan and the other is the bilateral symmetry plan. The radial symmetry plan is when the adult's life is fastened in one place and the bilateral symmetry plan is when they move from place to place in search of food. The bilateral plan is very helpful for them in different environments.

Both of these animals have a range in variety when it comes to their habitats, only thing is that the vertebrates can adapt to any habitat with ease, due to their nervous system and the advantage of a backbone. They can adapt to land, water, and wind because of their internal skeleton system. Not having a proper support system or skeleton system does not stop the invertebrates from living their lives, the invertebrates have a wide range of variety in their habitats, from forests and deserts to caves and mud. The largest group of invertebrates are known as arthropods while the smallest is the rotifers.

About 2 million species of invertebrates have been found and those 2 million make up 95% of species in the animal kingdom. When it comes to their classification, vertebrates are classified into reptiles, birds, mammals, amphibians, and fish, and invertebrates include coelenterates, echinoderms, sponges, worms, and insects - all animals without a backbone.

The size difference can be easily noticed between the two as invertebrates are small and tiny and vertebrates are bigger. Invertebrates are small and cannot move at a fast speed because their body does not have the support needed compared to a larger body, except for a squid that can move fairly fast. Vertebrates have the support needed in their systems as they have larger bodies. Adapting to the surroundings can be much easier for the vertebrates as they possess specialized nerve fiber, this gives them a competitive edge and an easy adaptation to different habitats. In comparison to the vertebrates the invertebrates also have a nervous system, the systems work well for them but they never seem to learn from their mistakes such as insects who go closer to light even though they can get burnt, there are exceptions made for an octopus as they are the smartest invertebrate animals in the world.

The main element that makes the vertebrates and invertebrates similar is the notochord. The notochord is a flexible supporting rod that runs through their body. In most of them, the chord is replaced with a series of bones, during early development. This helps in determining if the animal is an invertebrate or a vertebrate.

Invertebrates are multicellular organisms, these small organisms go through a long process of evolution to get to what they are today. The first cell had evolved from water, the invertebrates led the path as they transformed through water and their later complexity determined them as a vertebrate. Some examples of vertebrates are dogs, sloths, bats, lizards, turtles, and owls. Vertebrates are important to the environment as they help in the pollination of plants, this increases plant growth. Vertebrates can adapt to almost any environment.

If you enjoyed this article, also read about gecko vs lizard or hinny vs mule.

What is the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates?

The animal kingdom is classified into two main groups: vertebrates and invertebrates. Invertebrates have no backbone, while vertebrates have a backbone, internal skeleton system, and an advanced nervous system.

Invertebrates do not have backbones and can be found anywhere from dense forests to dry deserts, from caves to deep mud. They do not grow large as they have no backbone and possess no skeletal system, as such, they lack body rigidity and structure. They have a circulatory system for the blood flow throughout the body and have a simple respiratory system. As they lack an internal skeleton, they possess a hard exoskeleton as hard skin made of glucose to protect their soft inside. They constitute more than 95% of the animal kingdom in the world.

The most advanced species of the animal kingdom are the vertebrates. These animals possess an internal skeletal system, a respiratory system, and an advanced nervous system. In humans, the backbone runs down the body through the spine and connects with the nerve tissue. Having more specialized organ systems that support the large body, makes it very complex compared to invertebrates. The sensory organs present in the vertebrates are very complex and help them adapt to different environments.

A rough overall count of the vertebrates that exist in the world is around 57-58,000 different species of fish, mammals, birds, and reptiles. These animals live in a variety of habitats, but the vertebrate's bodies can easily adapt to many environments. This is possible due to their sensory organs and nervous system.

In terms of classification, vertebrates can be classified into fish, mammals, reptiles, etc., and invertebrates can be classified into insects, arachnids, etc. Their difference in size can be easily recognized with the vertebrates having large bodies as they have all the needs internally to support their big bodies for survival. While the invertebrates have a small body that lacks the internal systems like the vertebrates. The invertebrates have a less complex body as they lack the internal skeleton compared to the vertebrates who possess likely everything.

A mollusk, such as a snail, is a type of invertebrate

What are the seven types of invertebrates?

Invertebrates are of many types and it is very interesting to watch these features of sub-groups.

Phylum Porifera. These types of animals are commonly known as sponges. They are named sponges as they bear holes in them. These are multicellular animals that mainly consist of tissues and they lack complex organs. They are also found in the coral reefs of the oceans.

Phylum Cnidaria. These animals are commonly known as coelenterates. They are aquatic invertebrates and their bodies are like jelly, their lifecycle includes multiple stages, the polyp and medusa stage. Their examples are jellyfish that vary in size but have small tentacles, hydra small organisms that look similar to jellyfish and corals that are marine organisms and live in a large colony.

Phylum Platyhelminthes. These organisms are widely known as flatworms. Their body structure is very wormlike and has no circulatory system. There are over 20,000 species of flatworms known to us. Examples are Planaria maculata, these are freshwater inhabitants and are about 0.5 in (1 cm) long, Flukes have a very simple digestive cavity and are parasitic tapeworms, they live in the body of their hosts, and do not have digestive cavities of their own, feeding on the digested food of their host.

Phylum Echinodermata. These animals are commonly known as echinoderms. They are a group of marine animals and have spiny skin. Their name is derived from the Greek words meaning hedgehog skin. An example of an echinoderm is a starfish, they are found in the shallow parts of the oceans and shaped like stars. Sea urchins are black and have spines on their skin which can be dangerous to humans, and sea cucumbers who have a body shape very similar to a cucumber.

Phylum Mollusca. Everyone knows these animals by the name mollusks. These animals can be found on the water and on land, they are soft-bodied and their shells are hard as they are made of calcium carbonate. Examples are snails, which live on land as well as water, and squids, which have muscular arms to capture their prey.

Phylum Nematoda. These animals are known as nematodes. They are slender like long roundworms, they can live in soil and freshwater. Their examples are vinegar eels, they are not actual eels and are smaller.

Phylum Arthropoda. These animals are also commonly known as arthropods, they have joint limbs and an exoskeleton made of chitin.

How does a vertebrate obtain nutrients vs an invertebrate?

Animals' digestive systems have evolved with the type of food they digest.

The invertebrates use the gastrovascular cavities to help in their digestion of food. The gastrovascular tube serves as a mouth that is connected right to the anus.

The food goes down after being swallowed where the digestive enzyme helps it break down and digest and passes it through the anus, this is more like a one-way tube. After the food is digested, it also gives their body the required nutrients. The vertebrates digestive system works very different compared to the invertebrates, the food eaten goes through the esophagus and passed down to the stomach, from there it goes to the small intestines where the nutrients are obtained and then moves to the large intestine where later the excess food passes out as waste.

What is the main group of invertebrates?

The main groups of the invertebrates are.

Sponges - They are the oldest in the animal Phylum, they live in saltwater.

Worms - Worms live on land and in water.

Mollusks - They are soft on the inside and have a hard shell.

Arthropods - These are the largest animal group on Earth, which also includes insects.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for vertebrate vs invertebrate, then why not take a look at hyena vs wolf, or is an onion a vegetable!

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The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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