Animal Biodiversity

The defining characteristic for mammals and the characteristic which gives the class its name is the presence of mammary glands. Both the species I selected have mammary glands and nurture their young with milk from these glands.

Apart from the presence and use of mammary glands, the other common features of both animals are the high level of brain development among the animal kingdom as well as the social tendencies of the species.

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Given these similarities, there are stark differences between humans and dolphins. The most obvious is that humans are land living creatures while dolphins are adapted to life in the sea. As such, humans have evolved an upright stance, as well as opposable thumbs while dolphins have evolved fins and a blowhole.
Humans are classified under the order Primates along with monkeys and apes. Defining characteristics for primates are stereoscopic vision, opposable thumbs, highly mobile radius and ulna, and other physical adaptations for life in the treetops.
The dolphin belongs to the order Cetacea along with the blue whale and the killer whale. Order cetacea includes mammals who have evolved to a fully aquatic life. As such, dolphins and whales belong to the order.
Class Insecta
Both the praying mantis and the monarch butterfly have three main body divisions – the head, the thorax and the abdomen. Both also have compound eyes composed of hundreds or thousand of individual light sensing organs. Lastly, both insects lay eggs for reproductive purposes.
One big difference between the praying mantis and the monarch butterfly is flight. The butterfly has wings which enable it to cover large distances for food and for migration during wintertime. As mentioned, the monarch butterfly also undergoes migration. During winter, the monarch butterflies in Northern America travel to Mexico to outlast the cold weather conditions.
The butterfly belongs to order Lepidoptera along with moths and skippers. The defining characteristic for the order have been the presence of antennae, a hard exoskeleton and wings which are covered in scales.
The praying mantis belongs to the order Mantodae with its evolutionary siblings the leaf mantis with a thorax shaped and colored like a leaf and its oriental cousin the Chinese mantis. The characteristic for the order have been a predatory diet, their use of camouflage, and the presence of cannibalism among the species.
Class Aves
The bald eagle and the chicken, while representing polar opposites of the bravery spectrum have many similar characteristics. First, they lay eggs to reproduce. Second, they have wings and lastly, they also have a feather covering.
Also, there are more differences between both birds apart from their symbolism. The bald eagle has binocular vision while the chicken does not due to the placement of the eyes in their skulls. The bald eagle is also a carnivore while the chicken is an omnivore which can feed on seeds and small worms. The bald eagle is also much larger in size than the chicken.
The bald eagle together with hawks and falcons form the order Falconiformes. Members of the order are all birds of prey with hooked bills, sharp talons and good eyesight – adaptations needed for spotting and killing prey from the air.
The chicken on the other hand belongs to the order Galliformes along with turkeys and quails. The order is best described as being chicken-like in appearance with blunt wings and small to large bodies. Flight is limited for the order with some species having a terrestrial lifestyle.
Phylum  Echinodermata
Both star fishes and sea urchins are only found in marine habitats. Physically, both also sport a radial symmetry with the sea urchin going further by having a spherical symmetry. Lastly, both animals under phylum Echinodermata have the spiny exterior which defines members of the phylum.
One main difference between starfishes and sea urchins is in physical appearance. Star fishes have an obvious five arms while sea urchins are best described as round objects with protruding spikes. Sea urchins also have pronounced long spikes for protection against predators and are suspension feeders which feed on algae. Starfish on the other hand are predators and scavengers.
The common starfish along with the northern Pacific sea star and the red-knobbed sea star form the subclass Asteroidea. The five rayed body is the unifying feature of members of this subclass.  Five rays connect to a central disc for these animals. The sea urchin along with the sand dollar and heart urchins belong to class Echinoidea.
This class is different from other echinoderms because their calcitic ossicles are fused together to form a globe. They also have a very powerful chewing apparatus called Aristotle’s lantern.
Bibliography
University of Michigan Museum of Zoologyl (2008) “Animal Diversity Web.” In University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Retrieved November 30, 2008 from http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/index.html

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