Phylum Chordata Classification of Animals. MS. LEE. Class Agnatha.
Class Agnatha consists of jawless fish - that means that they have no jaws and no true teeth. They also do not have a true vertebrae and their skeletons are made up of fibers and cartilage. They are the oldest of the Chordates that have a vertebrae. There are two main types of jawless fish – the lampreys and the hagfishes.
the hagfish are very ugly animals . They are blind, toothless, and likes to eat dead fish. They secrete enormous amounts of slime and often tie themselves into knots.
The young are filter feeders while adults are usually parasites – they attach themselves to other fish and suck up tissue and bodily fluids from their hosts.
Class Chondrichthyes includes sharks, rays, and skates. In Greek, Chondros means cartilage; therefore, all organisms in this class have skeleton made out of cartilage instead of bones. They range from fearsome predators to harmless mollusk eaters.
There are over 350 species of sharks. Most of them have large curved tails, torpedo shaped body, and a pointed snout. Sharks can have thousands of teeth in their lifetime. They shed teeth and sometime even grow them in rows. The shark’s skin is very rough and feels like sandpaper. Sharks do not have swim bladders, so they have to constantly be on the move or else, they will sink. In addition, sharks will not get the oxygen that they need if they stop moving and can “drown”.
GREAT WHITE SHARK
Skates are often bottom feeders eating clam, snails, and shrimp. They have pectoral fins that are wide and are called “wings”. They glide across the water, but are very sluggish and slow.
BLUE SPOTTED STINGRAY
These rays like to live in sandy bottoms off the coast of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean. They look very pretty, but are very poisonous to the touch.
Animals from Class Osteichthyes are all known as “bony fishes” because their skeleton is made up of bone, or calcified tissue. This is the largest class of vertebrates with over 26,000 species. Although most of the fishes are called ray finned fishes, there is an incredible amount of diversity and speciation.
The sunfish is the largest bony fish in the world. An adult can weight up to 2,200 lbs. It eats only jellyfish. It lives in tropical waters and has very few predators.
The clownfish live in warm waters where coral reefs are abundant. It has a symbiotic relationship with the sea anemone meaning that they help each other out.
The frogfish lives in the waters off Australia. It is very good at camouflage and mimicry. It will resemble other fish, plants, and even its environment. Many can even change their colors.
This tuna is one of the largest and fastest fish around the world. It has one of the longest migratory routes from Iceland to the Gulf of Mexico. It can grow up to 6.5 feet in length and 550 pounds.
ATLANTIC BLUEFIN TUNA
This trout is native to the rivers and streams of North America, but will migrate out to sea as an adult. Their diet includes insects, small fish, and crustaceans.
The word amphibian means “double life”. Class Amphibia include amphibians such as frogs, newts, salamanders, and toads. They are vertebrates that live in the water as larva and then live on land as adults with lungs. Most amphibians need to live nearby water, but some have adapted to life in deserts and tundra.
These toads are native to North America. They like to burrow in the sand or dirt. Many people can hear them during mating season, but rarely see them.
SPLASHBACK POISON DART FROG
These frogs are native to Brazil and other tropical lowlands. Their color act as a warning to predators that they are poisonous.
These newts are native to Eastern United States. They have 3 life stages - aquatic larva, terrestrial juvenile, and aquatic adult. They eat worms, flies, and crickets. They can live for up to 15 years.
The spotted salamander likes to live in hardwood forests with ponds nearby for breeding. If a predator takes an arm, leg, or tail, they can grow back another one. They are also poisonous and will produce a white toxic fluid on their backs.
Class Reptilia have specific characteristics – dry, scaly skin, lungs, and terrestrial eggs. Animals in this class include snakes, turtles, alligators, and lizards. In addition, most reptiles are “cold-blooded” or ectoderms meaning that they rely on their behavior to help control their body temperature.
Chameleons have specialized cells that help them change colors for camouflage or as an expression of their physiological state. They have very long tongues (about their body length) which they use to catch prey such as insects. They tend to sway when they walk with a side to side gait.
This snake is the longest venomous snake in the world (18.5 ft. long). They are fierce, agile, and highly deadly predators that are feared.
They live in Western United States. They love to sunbathe and live up to 30 years in the wild.
These crocodiles are the largest of all the reptiles. They can weigh up to 2,000 lbs and 18 ft. long. They spend most of their time in the swamps and are opportunistic predators.
They are found only on a small island off of New Zealand. They don’t have ears, but they do have a “third eye”.
Birds encompass Class Aves. They have a constant internal temperature, an outer covering of feathers, two legs that are covered in scales, and two front limbs modified into wings. Their bones are hollow and light so that they can fly. Birds are diverse and numerous, but highly visible in their interactions with their environment.
The toucans live near the tropics. They have a compact body, but a large, colorful bill, which helps in thermoregulation, but also in intimidation. They eat mostly fruit.
The hummingbirds are the smallest birds. They can beat their wings up to 90 times per second. They are the only birds to fly backwards. They love nectar from flowers
GREAT BLUE HERON
These herons are great wading birds. They eat fish and live in wetlands. They breed in colonies. Parents regurgitate food for their young.
They are named after Capuchin Monks for their white faces and brown heads. They are small, highly intelligent monkeys. They are self aware and can recognize themselves in the mirror.
They have spines made of keratin. They roll up into a tight ball as a defense mechanism,
STRAW-COLORED FRUIT BAT
These bats are the most widely distributed bats in Africa. They can live in colonies of up to one million members. They are highly social and feed mostly on fruit.
Kangaroos are marsupials and live in Australia. They bear their young live, but it develops in an external pouch.
Jaguars are the 3rd largest cat. They are carnivores and skillful hunters, but unlike other cats, they bite and crush the skull instead of the neck.
Harp seal pups have white fur, but adults have gray, spotted fur. They have a thick layer of fat to keep them warm.
The elephant is the largest land animal growing up to 16,000 lbs. They can live up to 70 years and have long memories. Herds are matriarchal and range between 10-50 members.
The blue whale is the largest mammal in the world. Their tongue alone can weigh as much as an elephant. A blue whale can consume 800 lbs of krill a day. They live alone or in pairs, but can communicate through sound for up to 1000 miles.