Scientific Taxonomy and Earth’s Biodiversity

The characteristics which classify all the species that have been selected in the list in the Kingdom Animalia is that they are known as Metazoa and are heterotrophic and multicellular organisms. They consume their food and then digest it in their internal cavities. This category does not contain any prokaryotes or protests. Organisms belonging to this category do not possess any rigid cell walls and their cells are organized as tissues where each performs a specific function, forming specialized organs. They can perform rapid and complex movements and mainly procreate sexually. Their cells are diploid, i.e. each cell contains 2 similar sets of genetic materials.

The 8 species that are selected are:

  1. Bats
  2. Blue whale
  3. Moth
  4. Butterflies
  5. Ducks
  6. Cuckoos
  7. Star fish
  8. Sea urchins (Animal Diversity Web, 2008)

Mammals

The characteristics shared by bats and blue whales is that they have 3 middle ear bones, which are the stapes, malleus and incus, hair and mammary glands that is used for producing milk and is a modified form of sweat glands.

The main differences found between bats and blue whales is that the former is the smallest mammal and the latter the largest. While bats can fly, blue whales swim. Bats have a lifespan of around 30 years but blue whales can live up to 90 years. Bats live as a cluster forming colonies and during winters they hibernate. Blue whales migrate to low latitude waters during the winters. (Studentoffortune, 2009)

Bats belong to the Chiroptera order since they can further be divided into Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera. The blue whale belongs to the Cetacea order since they come from an extinct suborder and 2 extant suborders which are the Odontoceti and Mysticeti.

Two other species belonging to the Chiroptera order are the fruit bats and insectivorous bats and to the Cetacea order are dolphins and porpoises.

Insects

The characteristics shared by beetles and butterflies are that they are very small and they are consist of a head, 3 tagmata, an abdomen and thorax. They have large compound eyes, set of antennas. They have 2 sets of wings and 3 sets of legs.

The main difference between a beetle and butterfly is that beetles have specialized outer wings called forewings which acts like a highly durable covering for them and is known as elytra. A butterfly has 2 sets of wings which work together when they fly. Beetles are often destructive as they eat both vegetable and animal matter but butterflies solely live on nectar. (Studentoffortune, 2009)

Beetles belong to the Coleoptera order since they are the largest and the most diverse of all insects. Insects in this order differ from others with respect to the texture and form of the front wings. Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera order since a huge number of tiny scales cover their wings in an overlapping manner.

Two other species belonging to the Coleoptera order are fireflies and leaf beetles and to the Lepidoptera order are silk worms and moths.

Birds

The characteristics shared by ducks and cuckoos are that they have feathers and are vertebrates who can fly. They have evolved from a particular ancestor and are thus, somewhat related. They reproduce by laying hard shelled and large yoked eggs. They have horny beaks and no teeth. (Studentoffortune, 2009)

The main difference between ducks and cuckoos is that ducks are mainly small aquatic birds while cuckoos are either arboreal or terrestrial. Sometimes cuckoos migrate but ducks never do so. Cuckoos have feet that are zygodactyl where 2 of the inner toes point forward and the other 2 backwards. Ducks have scaled legs that have been positioned at the far back of their bodies and webbed feet.

Ducks belong to the Anseriformes order since they are aquatic in nature and are web footed as that they can swim. Cuckoos belong to the Cuculiformes order due to their anatomy comprising of a cleft and moderate bill, exposed nostrils and lengthened tail. (Studentoffortune, 2009)

Two other species belonging to the Anseriformes order are swans and geese, and to the Cuculiformes order are koels and roadrunners.

Echinoderms

The characteristic shared by star fish and sea urchins is that they are both found at deep points in the ocean. They are free swimming organisms having radial symmetry. Their larva is ciliated and adults possess mesodermal skeleton.

The main difference between star fish and sea urchins are that star fish have 5 arms and pentaradial symmetry while sea urchins have a pentamerous symmetry. While sea urchins mainly eat algae and other invertebrates like sponges and mussels, star fish are predators and detritivores that eat oysters, clams and decomposed plant and animal materials. (Studentoffortune, 2009)

Sea urchins belong to the Echinoidea order since they have spherical rigid shells with bony plates that closely fit. Star fish belong to the Stelleroidea order since they possess a central disc that further radiates 5 or more arms.

Two other species belonging to the Echinoidea order are sand dollars and heart urchins, and to the Stelleroidea order are brittle stars and somasters.

References

Animal Diversity Web. (2008). Kingdom Animalia. Web.

Studentoffortune. (2009). Biodiversity: How Diverse Is Life? Web.