Features of Kingdom Animalia

Written by krista sheehan
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Features of Kingdom Animalia
Kingdom Animalia includes millions of different animal species. (animals image by martini from Fotolia.com)

Kingdom Animalia features millions of species, all of which qualify as animals. As explained by Planet-Science.com, all living organisms are categorised into five different Kingdoms: Monera, Protista, Plantae, Fungi and Animalia. From the smallest saltwater sponge to the human being and the giant panda bear, all animals in Kingdom Animalia share specific features and characteristics.

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Classifications

Within the Kingdom Animalia, all animals are separated into unique categories, commonly called phyla. As of 2010, animals are categorised according to their structural and functional properties. However, New York's University of Buffalo website explains that classification may eventually be based on DNA sequences instead.

Although there are approximately 35 phyla, ten of these are quite common. Phylum Porifera includes approximately 8,000 species of saltwater sponges, while Phylum Cnidaria is composed of approximately 15,000 jellyfish and lower aquatic animal species. Phylum Mollusca includes squid, snails, claims and octopus, while Phylum Rotifers is used to categorise "highly-mobile freshwater invertebrate animals," according to the University of Buffalo. Other marine starfish fall into the Phylum Echinodermata. Worms are divided into three different phyla: Phylum Platyhelminthes for flatworms, Phylum Nematodes for parasitic worms and Phylum Annelida for segmented worms. Most other insects fall into Phylum Arthropoda, which is estimated to include more than one million species. The species included in Phylum Chordata all feature bilateral symmetry and a backbone. This phylum includes the vertebrates, including fish, reptiles, birds, mammals and human beings.

Physical Properties

All species in the Animal Kingdom are made of eukaryotic cells, which have specialised membrane-bound compartments. These cells combine together to form tissues and organs, which are constructed in specific ways that aid the species's survival. All animals require aerobic metabolism to break down food and obtain energy. As explained by the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, most animals are "capable of complex and relatively rapid movement compared to plants and other organisms." Although all species in the Kingdom Animalia share these same physical characteristics, they vary greatly in terms of size, shape and appearance.

Survival

As with the species in every Kingdom, the animals in Kingdom Animalia take careful efforts to ensure their survival. Interestingly, these survival methods vary greatly from one species to another. Some species, such as mollusks, reproduce at an excessive rate with the hope that just a small percentage of their thousands of offspring will survive. On the other hand, mammals only produce a small number of offspring at a time. However, the offspring are nurtured throughout their time in the uterus and throughout their early life, which greatly improves their survival rate. Regardless of all other factors, all species in the Animal Kingdom rely on homeostasis for survival. As explained by the University of Buffalo, this refers to the animal's ability to control its environment. For example, birds are able to fly to warmer environments during cold winter months. Being able to control the environment plays a large role in the animal's survival.

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