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Reptiles and Birds. Ms. Moore. What is a Reptile?. Body Plan: land vertebrates Well-developed skull Backbone and tail Two limb girdles with four limbs A reptile is a vertebrate that has a dry, scaly skin , lungs , and terrestrial eggs with several membranes.

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what is a reptile
What is a Reptile?
  • Body Plan: land vertebrates
    • Well-developed skull
    • Backbone and tail
    • Two limb girdles with four limbs
  • A reptile is a vertebrate that has a dry, scaly skin, lungs, and terrestrial eggs with several membranes.
  • Evolved from amphibian-like ancestors; developed under dry conditions; age of the dinosaurs (variety)  extinction
form and function in reptiles
Form and Function in Reptiles
  • Body Temperature Control
    • Ectotherms: rely on behavior to control body temp.
  • Feeding
    • Mostly herbivores or carnivores with adaptations to assist in feeding
  • Respiration
    • Cannot diffuse through skin, use spongy lungs surrounded by muscles to help expand and collapse cavity
    • May have flaps of skin over nostrils to help when underwater
    • Most have two lungs, some snakes only have one


    • Double-loop (1 to lungs, the other to body)
    • 3 or 4 chamber heart with partial septum dividing the ventricle (crocodiles)
  • Excretion
    • Urine (ammonia or uric acid) produced in kidneys  bladder/cloaca
  • Response
    • Similar to amphibian; cerebrum and cerebellum are larger
    • Reptiles have a pair of nostrils and sensory organs in roof of mouth = smell
    • Simple ears with external eardrum and 1 bone
    • Body heat detectors


    • Wide variety of movements specialized to body
  • Reproduction
    • Internal Fertilization! Penis-like organ delivers sperm to female cloaca
    • Embryos are covered with membranes and a leathery shell
    • Most are oviparous, some are ovoviviparous
    • Amniotic egg: embryo can develop without drying out
      • 4 membranes:
        • Amnion: surrounds and cushions developing embryo
        • Yolk sac: food supply
        • Chorion: regulates gas exchange
        • Allantois: stores waste from embryo
groups of reptiles
Groups of Reptiles
  • Lizards and Snakes
    • Order: Squamata, means “scaly reptiles”
      • Lizards: have legs, clawed toes, external ears, and movable eyelids
      • Snakes: lost both pairs of legs during evolution; efficient predators; some can produce venom

*Draw Figure 31-8: The Amniotic Egg (p803)

  • Crocodilians
    • Order: Crocodilia
      • Crocodiles: habitat includes fresh or salt water; native to Africa, India, SE Asia
      • Alligators: habitat includes fresh water; native to N/S Americas
      • Caimans: same as alligator, but smaller
      • Gavials
    • Fierce carnivores; guard eggs/young

Turtles and Tortoises

    • Order: Testudines
      • Turtle: lives in water
      • Tortoise: lives on land
      • Terrapin: found in water that is somewhat salty
    • Shell is built into the skeleton:
      • Carapace: dorsal part
      • Plastron: ventral part
    • No teeth, horny ridges that cover the upper and lower jaws
    • Powerful limbs
  • Tuataras
    • Order: last surviving member of Sphenodonta
    • Found off the coast of New Zealand
    • Resemble lizards, but lack external ears and retain primitive scales; have a “third eye” (part of brain)
what is a bird
What is a Bird?
  • Birds are reptile-like animals that maintain a constant internal body temperature. They have an outer covering of feathers, two legs covered with scales, and two front limbs modified into wings.
    • Feathers: made mostly of protein and develop from pits in the bird’s skin
  • Evolution
    • Believed to evolve from extinct reptiles/dinosaurs
    • Archaeopteryx: early bird or transitional animal of both dinosaurs and birds?
    • Did birds and dinosaurs both evolve from an earlier common ancestor?
form function and flight
Form, Function, and Flight
  • Body Temperature Control
    • Endotherm: generate own body heat; high metabolism rate
  • Feeding
    • Beaks are adapted to the bird’s diet
    • Remember: Crop and Gizzard?
  • Respiration
    • Highly efficient; allows birds to maintain their high metabolic rate = flight
      • Air sacs: direct air through the lungs in a one way flow


    • 4 chambered hearts; 2 separate circulatory loops
  • Excretion
    • Similar to reptiles, except uric acid crystals can be seen in a white, pasty form
  • Response
    • Well-developed sense organs; brain that can quickly interpret and respond to signals
    • Cerebrum: behaviors like nest building, flying, care of young, courtship, and mating (very large)
    • Cerebellum: uses precise, coordinated movements
    • Medulla Oblongata: heartbeat
    • Optic Lobe: eyesight; see color very well
    • Olfactory Bulb: smell; very small


    • Some birds cannot fly:
      • Ostrich: walk/run
      • Penguin: swim
    • Bones form a sturdy, but lightweight frame
    • Large chest muscles power flight
  • Reproduction
    • Both male and female reproductive tracts open to the cloaca “cloacal kiss”; some may have penis
    • Amniotic eggs with hard outer shells; incubated until hatch
groups and ecology
Groups and Ecology
  • Over 30 orders of birds
    • Passerines/Perching Birds: songbirds; over 5000 species
    • Pelicans and Relatives: aquatic ecosystems
    • Parrots: colorful and noisy; feet holds food
    • Herons and Relatives : wading in aquatic habitats
    • Cavity-Nesting: live in holes made in trees, mounds, or underground tunnels
    • Birds of Prey: raptors; fierce predators with hooked bills and sharp talons
    • Ostrich and Relatives: flightless birds