Vertebrates all belong to the same phylum - Chordates and the same kingdom - Animals. Chordates all have a stiffened rod running along the upper surface of their bodies. In vertebrates this has been replaced with a backbone, or verterbral column. All vertebrates also have a post-anal tail. This is a tail that starts behind the anus. Non-vertebrates never have this. Vertebrates are divided into 5 different classes:

Fish[edit | edit source]

  • Fish have a body covering of wet, shiny scales.
  • They have fins to help with swimming and balance
  • Their eggs are surrounded by soft jelly and laid in water
  • Almost all fish live in water
  • Fish get oxygen for respiration from gills
  • Fish have a sense organ called a lateral line, which runs along each side of the body. This senses vibrations in the water

Amphibians[edit | edit source]

  • They have a smooth, moist skin
  • They have 4 limbs
  • Some live in water and some on land
  • They lay soft jellylike eggs in water
  • Tadpoles have gills, but adults have lungs
  • Cold-blooded

Reptiles[edit | edit source]

  • They have a rough and scaly skin
  • They have either 4 limbs, or none
  • Can live in either the water, or on dry land
  • Have lungs (as opposed to gills)
  • They lay their eggs on land

Mammals[edit | edit source]

  • The have hair or fur covering their bodies.
  • They have 4 limbs
  • They have ear drums deep inside their head but have a pinner (flap) on side of head to help them hear.
  • Offspring are developed internally, inside a womb.
  • Female mammals have mammary glands, so that they can feed their young. They also have four different types of teeth.

Birds[edit | edit source]

  • They have feathers covering their bodies and scaly skin on legs
  • They have 2 limbs, 2 wings
  • They also have ears which are holes in side of their heads. They have eardrums deep inside their heads.
  • They have hard shelled eggs
  • They have beaks and wings. Most birds can fly
  • They have no teeth
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