l>Five class of Vertebrates
Family Camp
Music Camp
PicturesFAQEmploymentSupport CazDirectionsLinksContact Us
Nature Elective

The five Classes that Vertebrates first posted June 12, 2004 last updated November 20, 2009


Everyone loves animals, and nearly all the animals you recognize are vertebrates.

Can girlfriend name some animals? create down a list of as many animals as friend can. If girlfriend look end this list, probably all of the animals that you have actually named have bones, with a collection of large bones in your backs the helps castle to move (run, climb, fly, swim). This is called their backbone or vertebral column. All animals with a backbone are referred to as vertebrates. Do you have actually a backbone? climate you room a vertebrate, too! Vertebrates comprise most that the "animals" that us are acquainted with. Exceptions to this would certainly be things choose an insect, one octopus, a lobster or crab, a jellyfish, or a clam. Most everything else is a vertebrate, through a backbone and also other bones.

Vertebrates deserve to be divide into 5 groups, based upon their skin covering, just how they reproduce, how they maintain body temperature, and also characteristics of your limbs (arms and legs, or their identical such together wings or fins). Learning the 5 classes of vertebrates and their qualities helps you come understand more about this animals.

You are watching: What are the five classes of vertebrates

The five classes the vertebrates are listed below.

You most likely know every one of the attributes that are in bold. If you understand this much, girlfriend know enough to share any animal you see! discover these qualities if friend don"t currently know them. Simply think of your favorite example and the qualities become really easy come remember. The other information offers you more characteristics that researchers use come classify pets into their particular class.

Coho Salmon

1. Fish room ectothermic, aquatic vertebrates. 2. Your skin is typically covered through scales. 3. Your limbs room modified into fins because that swimming. 4. Castle breathe through gills. 5. They lay eggs that should be in water.

You more than likely knew many of this already, didn"t you? The term "ectothermic" may it is in new to you. It means "external temperature" in Latin. The easier term is "cold-blooded", that is, it has actually a body temperature equal to the bordering environment. You understand that fish are cold-blooded if you ever picked one up: they are as cold together the water castle were swimming in. Even if you walk swimming and are shivering v cold, friend are always warmer than the water. "Aquatic" method that they spend their stays in the water.
The most significant fish in ~ Cazadero is a visitor during the winter rains: the Coho salmon. A commonwealth threatened species, this ocean-dwelling fish comes up Austin Creek once the winter rain raise the water level, to spawn (lay eggs) in the gravel bed that room so common of the redwood creeks. Note that the eggs space laid in the water, no on soil (reptiles and birds lay eggs on dried land).


The eggs drift down right into the gravel, wherein they space protected. The eggs at the left room Coho salmon eggs, and they present the occurring embryo, and you have the right to see the eye that the infant fish.

A salmon is a fish because it is ectothermic (cold-blooded), resides in the water, breathes through gills, lays egg in water, and has fins and also scales.


Pacific Treefrog

1. Amphibians are ectothermic vertebrates. 2. Your skin lacks scales, hair, and also feathers, and is either smooth (like a frog) or rough (like a toad). They are dependent ~ above moisture and also subject come desiccation; your skin must remain moist to aid in breathing. 3. Castle lay eggs in water, i beg your pardon hatch right into an intermediate life type (tadpole or larva) that usually breathes through gills, and change into the adult kind that breathes air and can live outside water. 4. They have three-chambered hearts. 5. They lack claws on their toes.

You currently knew all the facts that room in bold, didn"t you? Let"s think of the various kinds of amphibians the Cazadero has, and also you have the right to probably figure out all the features of the class. The frog in ~ the height is the Pacific treefrog, one of the most famed frogs in the world. Perform you understand why? the is the frog heard round the world! many Hollywood movies have actually used the croaking the Pacific treefrogs as soon as they desire frog noises, because they space champion croakers. They room treefrogs, for this reason they execute not spend much of your time in water, yet are discovered in trees.

The toad (below, left) is the western Toad, which friend can discover in the thousands down by Austin Creek in later on summer when they have actually hatched out from their tadpole stage. The amphibian (below, right) is the California Newt. Newts are prefer salamanders, yet they have actually the rougher, dryer skin prefer a toad. Frogs are choose salamanders, and also toads are prefer newts. They all have moist skins, through which they deserve to breathe (they also have lungs for breathing).The salamander at the bottom is the California slim Salamander, i m sorry is about 3 customs long yet only 1/4 inch wide.

The surname "amphibian" comes from the Latin because that "two lives", which refers to the reality that all amphibians have actually a larval phase (we call the larval stage of frogs and also toads a "tadpole" or "pollywog") and an adult stage. This is distinct in the vertebrate world, because fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals room all born as tiny versions of the adult, no a totally different form. This double life, one aquatic through gills and one terrestrial through lungs, might be representative that the development of pets out that water and also onto dried land.

Now, lets look in ~ the qualities of the class amphibian. You already knew the frogs to be cold-blooded if you ever before picked one up. You also knew that tadpoles hatched right into frogs, and that frogs execute not have actually feathers, scales, or hair ("fine as frog fur" is a famous phrase), and that their skin was moist. You probably already knew that frogs put eggs. So girlfriend are currently an experienced on what provides an amphibian one amphibian! The other qualities may be fun to know, but you have the right to classify an animal as an amphibian simply by what you currently know.




Garter snake (click below for larger image)

1. Reptiles room ectothermic vertebrates. 2. Their skin has actually scales, yet no hair or feathers. 3. They have three-chambered hearts (except for alligators and crocodiles, which have actually four-chambered hearts). 4. They have claws on your toes (except those which carry out not have actually legs, such together legless lizards). 5. They room the very first animals, in evolution, to build the amniotic egg. This enables reptiles to lay eggs top top land.

You currently knew every the facts that space in bold, didn"t you? Let"s think the the various kinds the reptiles in ~ Cazadero, and review what we currently know about them.

The most usual reptile the you can uncover at Cazadero is the alligator lizard, typically crawling though the leaves and also debris ~ above the ground, looking for invertebrates to munch and lunch on. Friend may likewise see garter snakes along the creek side, blue ship lizards sunning us on rocks or logs, or the rare turtle in the creek.

What perform all these reptiles have in common? they all space cold-blooded (the reason lizards and also snakes sun themselves is to heat up, just like you on a cold morning, or ~ a wade in Austin Creek) and also they have scales. Go you ever before see a lizard v feathers, or a hairy snake? No! Scales comprise their only covering. Reptiles also lay eggs on dried land. You have actually heard of turtle eggs, right? Nature shows regularly have programs on sea turtles and also how they lay your eggs top top the beach. Friend may have actually seen part nature programs on alligators, one more kind the reptile however not one us have, laying egg in piles of rotting vegetation. All reptiles put eggs. We understand now that birds advanced from reptiles, and one of your linkages is the reality that lock both put hard-shelled eggs on dry land. Amphibian eggs, in comparison, are soft and must be laid in water.

1. Birds are endothermic vertebrates. 2. Your skin is spanned with feathers. 3. They have actually four-chambered hearts. 4. Their bones are lightweight and also usually hollow. 5. Your forelimbs room modified as wings. 6. They lay eggs.

You currently knew every the truth that are in bold, didn"t you? everyone knows birds have actually wings through feathers and lay eggs. You may not have known they are endothermic, i m sorry is Latin because that "inside temperature". This means that they deserve to maintain your own warm inside temperature, even when it is cold outside. Frogs (amphibians) and snakes (reptiles) need to hide when the weather is cold, yet birds have the right to be out and also active. Let"s think the the various kinds of birds at Cazadero, and think what we currently know around them.

The most usual birds at Cazadero space blue jays, both Scrub Jays and also Steller"s Jays (photo above), robins (at right), and also a range of aquatic bird such as ducks, mergansers, and also herons, which feed along Austin Creek.

The features of the class Birds are fairly well-known and also hardly have to be taught. Us all understand that birds have wings, chicken lay eggs, and also that birds of a feather flock together. The just character the you can not have known is the they are warm-blooded, uneven you or a friend have a pet bird at home or if you have held a chicken. Birds in basic have a greater body temperature than we do, therefore they feeling quite warm when we organize them. Your feathers room well-adapted to organize this heat in, i beg your pardon is why we make comforters the end of down.

How around a check of your knowledge? This will likewise show friend the usefulness of learning the classification of vertebrates. Animal One You involved a strange island and also the islanders phone call you about a strange biology that has actually a backbone. They speak it flies roughly with two wings. What is your first guess? you would probably say a bird. However they tell friend it does no lay eggs. Might not maybe be a bird. It has actually fur. Can you currently guess? Answer here.

Animal Two girlfriend are likewise told about an pet with a backbone the is now extinct, yet the elders remember the it ran about on the ground and couldn"t fly favor a bird. But it set eggs. What is your first guess? you would most likely say a reptile, prefer a lizard. However they tell you it go not have actually scales, however feathers. Deserve to you guess: v what it should be? Answer here.

Animal Three girlfriend are additionally told about an pet with a backbone with no legs the lays eggs, however is certainly not a snake. What is your very first guess? friend would more than likely say a fish. However, this weird creature resides on land, has actually scales, and also lays eggs on the dried land. price here.

Animal Four The islanders likewise tell you about an pet that stays its whole life in the water and also has gills. What is your an initial guess? You are wrong! the is no a fish! They tell you the it lays eggs in the water, does not have a larval stage but is born together a little version of one adult that the species. Guess: v again? that can"t be an amphibian, together it does not have a larval stage. Reptile? No, it has gills. Reptiles breathe v lungs. Mystified? Carefully examine the description and click here.

Animal Five The final pet that you are told around is quite strange, indeed. It has actually a backbone, swims in the water and lays eggs. What is your an initial guess? You can think the it is a fish or one amphibian, or even a reptile or bird. They every lay eggs and also some that each group swims. You really can"t assumption: v yet. Castle tell you it has claws and also a bill favor a duck. You might think that is a bird. Then they tell girlfriend it has no feathers. That rules the end a bird. What"s left? A fish, one amphibian, or a reptile, however this is strange. A fish with a bill like a duck? climate they tell friend it breathes air, and also its eggs space laid ~ above the ground. The rules out what? A fish. Reptile? but they tell girlfriend it is warm blooded, and also nurses that young v milk. Boy, you space in a quandary now! What course would a vertebrate it is in in? Answer here.

Reptilia"s webpage on teaching the 5 classes to fifth graders is nice.

Smithsonian"s Vertebrate webpage is for fairly advanced students.

The WebQuest web page on vertebrates is one interactive learning tool and quite nice.


The photograph of Coho egg is from a newsletter of Kalles junior High.

The west Toad and California Newt room from Richard Paslek"s webpage top top the Humbolt State university website (interestingly, in the Chemistry Department"s section!). The California slender Salamander picture was take away by Jason Lowe.

The garter snake picture is from Gerry M. Serianni"s webpage ~ above his geneology.

The Steller"s Jay and robin space from a webpage top top insect-eating bird posted through the federal government.

The deer mouse, opossum, and also Pallid bat room from the Math/Science website; this group is situated in Fremont.

See more: When Was China Anne Mcclain Born, China Anne Mcclain

The dodo bird is native the WebQuest site, quote under References. The legless lizard is from the used Ecology study Group: Fauna Notes.