Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Corel Photography
With over 2 million different kinds of animals, Kingdom Animalia is the largest of the kingdoms. But when you think of an "animal", what image comes to mind? While animals like bears, fish, and birds are the most familiar to us, over half of all the animals on Earth belong to a group of animals known as "arthropods". Arthropods include animals such as centipedes, crabs, insects, and spiders. This means that the majority of animals come from a group of critters that give most folks the creeps!
So, what exactly is an "animal"? With so many different kinds of animals, it's hard to imagine what they all might have in common. First, animals are "multicellular". This means they are made of many cells, unlike bacteria, which are made of only one cell. Second, all animals must get their food by eating other organisms, such as plants, fungi, and other animals. Plants don't have to eat other organisms because they can use the Sun's energy to make their own food. In addition, all animals need oxygen to survive. Did you know that fish can breathe oxygen from the water that passes through their gills and earthworms get their oxygen through their skin?
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!
You might also be interested in:
Kingdom Plantae has almost 300,000 different kinds of plants. Plants are found all over planet Earth. They can live in fields, in swamps, in oceans and in the desert. They can live where it is hot and...more
Between 2 and 3 million species are currently known on Earth and new species are being discovered every year. From tiny yeasts to starfish to blue whales, the diversity of life is pretty awesome! With...more
For a long time, scientists have thought that birds are dinosaurs' closest living relatives. They came up with this hypothesis based on the shapes found in bird and dinosaur skeletons. Now scientists...more
Biomes are large areas of the world where there are similar plants, animals, and other living things. The living things are adapted to the climate. Explore the links below to learn more about different...more
Wetlands are very important ecosystems. What makes them different from other places? The most obvious thing is that they are wet! There is a very important wetland in South America called the Pantanal....more
Members of the Kingdom Protista are an unusual group of organisms that were put together because they don't really seem to belong to any other group. Some protists look or act like plants, others look...more
Elements make up everything around us including the trees of a forest, your pets, and even YOU! All living things are made up of small compartments called cells and the cells of every creature are made...more