Scientific Taxonomy and Earth's Biodiversity

Essay by JWeigelCollege, UndergraduateC+, May 2009

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Scientific Taxonomy � PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT �1�

Scientific Taxonomy and Earth's Biodiversity Paper


Jeff Weigel

April 17, 2009

Two species out of the vast majority of existing mammals are armadillos and elephants. Some characteristics shared between the two are; their young are born alive, warm-blooded, and have lungs to breath. The body characteristics are most evident of differences between the two. Elephant's have size; tusks, and even a trunk (Myers, 2008). An armadillo however, is of moderate size, has hard armor-like skin, short legs, and have claws (Myers, 2008). In addition, an elephant's diet is usually plant flood, considering that it is an herbivore, while an armadillo uses its sharp claws to dig for grubs or insects (National Geographic Society, 2008).

The termite and butterfly are part of the insect group which has many species. Some shared characteristic of these two insects are: an exoskeleton, three major body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), and antennas (Reach Out, 2004).

Butterflies usually sip liquid food through a proboscis, such as from rotting fruits or some even prefer animal flesh or fluids. A termite's diet usually feeds upon dead plant material (wood, leaf litter, soil, animal dung, and crops), while a (Col, 2008). Another major difference is butterflies are viewed as being pleasant and attractive to the eye while termites are typically seen as pests to humans, for they cause much damage to buildings, crops, and plantation forests, while. A termite is classified under the order Isoptera, which includes only termites; however they are related to cockroaches and mantids in the super order Dictyoptera (Myers, 2008).

Hummingbirds and penguins are both birds, and share: endothermic vertebrates, covered with feathers, and lay eggs (Myers, 2008). On the other hand, chief differences exist as well. Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds that live in cold temperatures (Busch Entertainment Corporation, 2002). Hummingbirds however, stay close in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings. They can even fly backwards, and feed from nectar or tiny anthropoids from flower blossoms (Gates, L. & Gates, T., 2008). Penguins belong to the order Sphenisciformes, which includes 18 species such as chinstrap penguins, king penguins, and emperor penguins. The order Sphenisciformes classifies birds as flightless birds within cold temperatures - thus, penguins. Hummingbirds belong to the order Apodiformes, which includes two other families - the swifts, Apodiadae, and the tree swifts, Hemiprocnidae (Myers, 2008).

Echinoderms have a variety of species but we will only focus on two: starfishes and sand dollars. They share the following characteristics: two embryonic openings, the anus and the mouth; have no cephalisation, as larva; they are free-swimming bilaterally symmetrical organisms (Myers, 2008). On the other hand, apparent contrasts exist between the two as well. Starfish have five or more arms, which extend from an indistinct disc, have a diet that includes shelled animals such as oysters and clams, and even are able to redevelop missing arms (Kornfeld, 1997). However, sand dollars do not have "arms" and have a round, flat shape. They have five pores that move seawater within its vascular system, which permit the organism to move (The Common Sand Dollar, 2000). A starfish belongs to the order Goniactinida. Their shape, legs, and ability to regenerate classify them within these orders (Myers, 2008). Other species may include sea urchins and brittle stars. Sand dollars, on the other hand, are classified under the order Clypeasteroida, which have organisms with multiple ambulacral pores and tube feet for movement and irregular echinoids.

Life would not be the same - it would be safe to say that it would not be the world we know now without animal life, along with other living organisms of this world.


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