Portal:Animals
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Portal:Animals

The Animals Portal

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Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and grow from a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development. Over 1.5 million living animal species have been described--of which around 1 million are insects--but it has been estimated there are over 7 million animal species in total. Animals range in length from 8.5 micrometres (0.00033 in) to 33.6 metres (110 ft). They have complex interactions with each other and their environments, forming intricate food webs. The kingdom Animalia includes humans but in colloquial use the term animal often refers only to non-human animals. The scientific study of animals is known as zoology.

Most living animal species are in Bilateria, a clade whose members have a bilaterally symmetric body plan. The Bilateria include the protostomes--in which many groups of invertebrates are found, such as nematodes, arthropods, and molluscs--and the deuterostomes, containing both the echinoderms as well as the chordates, the latter containing the vertebrates. Life forms interpreted as early animals were present in the Ediacaran biota of the late Precambrian. Many modern animal phyla became clearly established in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, which began around 542 million years ago. 6,331 groups of genes common to all living animals have been identified; these may have arisen from a single common ancestor that lived 650 million years ago.

Historically, Aristotle divided animals into those with blood and those without. Carl Linnaeus created the first hierarchical biological classification for animals in 1758 with his Systema Naturae, which Jean-Baptiste Lamarck expanded into 14 phyla by 1809. In 1874, Ernst Haeckel divided the animal kingdom into the multicellular Metazoa (now synonymous for Animalia) and the Protozoa, single-celled organisms no longer considered animals. In modern times, the biological classification of animals relies on advanced techniques, such as molecular phylogenetics, which are effective at demonstrating the evolutionary relationships between taxa. (Full article...)

Zoology is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct, and how they interact with their ecosystems. The term is derived from Ancient Greek ?, z?ion, i.e. "animal" and , logos, i.e. "knowledge, study". (Full article...)

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Lepus europaeus (Causse Méjean, Lozère)-cropped.jpg

The European hare (Lepus europaeus), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is among the largest hare species and is adapted to temperate, open country. Hares are herbivorous and feed mainly on grasses and herbs, supplementing these with twigs, buds, bark and field crops, particularly in winter. Their natural predators include large birds of prey, canids and felids. They rely on high-speed endurance running to escape predation, having long, powerful limbs and large nostrils.

Generally nocturnal and shy in nature, hares change their behaviour in the spring, when they can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around in fields. During this spring frenzy, they sometimes strike one another with their paws ("boxing"). This is usually not competition between males, but a female hitting a male, either to show she is not yet ready to mate or to test of his determination. The female nests in a depression on the surface of the ground rather than in a burrow and the young are active as soon as they are born. Litters may consist of three or four young and a female can bear three litters a year, with hares living for up to twelve years. The breeding season lasts from January to August. (Full article...)

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Two black and white striped skunks
Striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis)

Mephitidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, which comprises the skunks and stink badgers. A member of this family is called a mephitid. The skunks of the family are widespread across the Americas, while the stink badgers are in the Greater Sunda Islands of southeast Asia. Species inhabit a variety of habitats, though typically grassland, forest, and shrubland. Most mephitids are 20-50 cm (8-20 in) long, plus a 10-40 cm (4-16 in) tail, though the pygmy spotted skunk can be as small as 11 cm (4 in) plus a 7 cm (3 in) tail, and some striped skunks can be up to 82 cm (32 in) plus a 40 cm (16 in) tail. No estimates have been made for overall population sizes of any of the species, but two species are classified as vulnerable. Mephetids in general are not domesticated, though skunks are sometimes kept as pets.

The twelve species of Mephitidae are split into four genera: the monotypic Conepatus, hog-nosed skunks; Mephitis, skunks; Mydaus, stink badgers; and Spilogale, spotted skunks. Mephitidae was traditionally a clade within the Mustelidae family, with the stink badgers combined with other badgers within the Melinae genus, but more recent genetic evidence resulted in the consensus to separate Mephitidae into its own family. Extinct species have also been placed into all of the extant genera besides Mydaus, as well as 9 extinct genera; 26 extinct Mephitidae species have been found, though due to ongoing research and discoveries the exact number and categorization is not fixed. (Full article...)


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The following table lists estimated numbers of described extant species for the animal groups with the largest numbers of species,[1] along with their principal habitats (terrestrial, fresh water,[2] and marine),[3] and free-living or parasitic ways of life.[4] Species estimates shown here are based on numbers described scientifically; much larger estimates have been calculated based on various means of prediction, and these can vary wildly. For instance, around 25,000-27,000 species of nematodes have been described, while published estimates of the total number of nematode species include 10,000-20,000; 500,000; 10 million; and 100 million.[5] Using patterns within the taxonomic hierarchy, the total number of animal species--including those not yet described--was calculated to be about 7.77 million in 2011.[6][7][a]

Phylum Example No. of
Species
Land Sea Fresh
water
Free-
living
Parasitic
Annelids Nerr0328.jpg 17,000[1] Yes (soil)[3] Yes[3] 1,750[2] Yes 400[4]
Arthropods wasp 1,257,000[1] 1,000,000
(insects)[9]
>40,000
(Malac-
ostraca)[10]
94,000[2] Yes[3] >45,000[b][4]
Bryozoa Bryozoan at Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique (6654415783).jpg 6,000[1] Yes[3] 60-80[2] Yes
Chordates green spotted frog facing right 65,000[1]
45,000[11]

23,000[11]

13,000[11]
18,000[2]
9,000[11]
Yes 40
(catfish)[12][4]
Cnidaria Table coral 16,000[1] Yes[3] Yes (few)[3] Yes[3] >1,350
(Myxozoa)[4]
Echinoderms Starfish, Caswell Bay - geograph.org.uk - 409413.jpg 7,500[1] 7,500[1] Yes[3]
Molluscs snail 85,000[1]
107,000[13]

35,000[13]

60,000[13]
5,000[2]
12,000[13]
Yes[3] >5,600[4]
Nematodes CelegansGoldsteinLabUNC.jpg 25,000[1] Yes (soil)[3] 4,000[5] 2,000[2] 11,000[5] 14,000[5]
Platyhelminthes Pseudoceros dimidiatus.jpg 29,500[1] Yes[14] Yes[3] 1,300[2] Yes[3]

3,000-6,500[15]

>40,000[4]

4,000-25,000[15]

Rotifers 20090730 020239 Rotifer.jpg 2,000[1] >400[16] 2,000[2] Yes
Sponges A colourful Sponge on the Fathom.jpg 10,800[1] Yes[3] 200-300[2] Yes Yes[17]
Total number of described extant species as of 2013: 1,525,728[1]

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  1. ^ The application of DNA barcoding to taxonomy further complicates this; a 2016 barcoding analysis estimated a total count of nearly 100,000 insect species for Canada alone, and extrapolated that the global insect fauna must be in excess of 10 million species, of which nearly 2 million are in a single fly family known as gall midges (Cecidomyiidae).[8]
  2. ^ Not including parasitoids.[4]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Zhang, Zhi-Qiang (2013-08-30). "Animal biodiversity: An update of classification and diversity in 2013. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal Biodiversity: An Outline of Higher-level Classification and Survey of Taxonomic Richness (Addenda 2013)". Zootaxa. 3703 (1): 5. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3703.1.3. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Balian, E. V.; Lévêque, C.; Segers, H.; Martens, K. (2008). Freshwater Animal Diversity Assessment. Springer. p. 628. ISBN 978-1-4020-8259-7.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hogenboom, Melissa. "There are only 35 kinds of animal and most are really weird". BBC Earth. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Poulin, Robert (2007). Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites. Princeton University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-691-12085-0.
  5. ^ a b c d Felder, Darryl L.; Camp, David K. (2009). Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota: Biodiversity. Texas A&M University Press. p. 1111. ISBN 978-1-60344-269-5.
  6. ^ "How many species on Earth? About 8.7 million, new estimate says". 24 August 2011. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Mora, Camilo; Tittensor, Derek P.; Adl, Sina; Simpson, Alastair G.B.; Worm, Boris (2011-08-23). Mace, Georgina M. (ed.). "How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?". PLOS Biology. 9 (8): e1001127. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127. PMC 3160336. PMID 21886479.
  8. ^ Hebert, Paul D.N.; Ratnasingham, Sujeevan; Zakharov, Evgeny V.; Telfer, Angela C.; Levesque-Beaudin, Valerie; Milton, Megan A.; Pedersen, Stephanie; Jannetta, Paul; deWaard, Jeremy R. (1 August 2016). "Counting animal species with DNA barcodes: Canadian insects". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 371 (1702): 20150333. doi:10.1098/rstb.2015.0333. PMC 4971185. PMID 27481785.
  9. ^ Stork, Nigel E. (January 2018). "How Many Species of Insects and Other Terrestrial Arthropods Are There on Earth?". Annual Review of Entomology. 63 (1): 31-45. doi:10.1146/annurev-ento-020117-043348. PMID 28938083. S2CID 23755007. Stork notes that 1m insects have been named, making much larger predicted estimates.
  10. ^ Poore, Hugh F. (2002). "Introduction". Crustacea: Malacostraca. Zoological catalogue of Australia. 19.2A. CSIRO Publishing. pp. 1-7. ISBN 978-0-643-06901-5.
  11. ^ a b c d Reaka-Kudla, Marjorie L.; Wilson, Don E.; Wilson, Edward O. (1996). Biodiversity II: Understanding and Protecting Our Biological Resources. Joseph Henry Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-309-52075-1.
  12. ^ Burton, Derek; Burton, Margaret (2017). Essential Fish Biology: Diversity, Structure and Function. Oxford University Press. pp. 281-282. ISBN 978-0-19-878555-2. Trichomycteridae ... includes obligate parasitic fish. Thus 17 genera from 2 subfamilies, Vandelliinae; 4 genera, 9spp. and Stegophilinae; 13 genera, 31 spp. are parasites on gills (Vandelliinae) or skin (stegophilines) of fish.
  13. ^ a b c d Nicol, David (June 1969). "The Number of Living Species of Molluscs". Systematic Zoology. 18 (2): 251-254. doi:10.2307/2412618. JSTOR 2412618.
  14. ^ Sluys, R. (1999). "Global diversity of land planarians (Platyhelminthes, Tricladida, Terricola): a new indicator-taxon in biodiversity and conservation studies". Biodiversity and Conservation. 8 (12): 1663-1681. doi:10.1023/A:1008994925673. S2CID 38784755.
  15. ^ a b Pandian, T. J. (2020). Reproduction and Development in Platyhelminthes. CRC Press. pp. 13-14. ISBN 9781000054903.
  16. ^ Fontaneto, Diego. "Marine Rotifers | An Unexplored World of Richness" (PDF). JMBA Global Marine Environment. pp. 4-5. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 March 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ Morand, Serge; Krasnov, Boris R.; Littlewood, D. Timothy J. (2015). Parasite Diversity and Diversification. Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-107-03765-6. Archived from the original on 12 December 2018. Retrieved 2018.

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