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Vertebrates

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What are vertebrates?

Vertebrates are animals that have a backbone or spinal column, also called vertebrae. These animals include fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.

How are they classified?

Vertebrates are classified by the chordate subphylum vertebrata. Invertebrates are any other animal that is classified outside of that class.

Are there a lot of vertebrate species?

There are currently around 65,000 known species of vertebrate animals. This sounds like a lot, but vertebrates are only around 3% of all the animals on Earth. Most of the animal species are invertebrates.

What are some vertebrate animals? Cold-blooded and Warm-blooded

Vertebrate animals can be either warm-blooded or cold-blooded. A cold-blooded animal cannot maintain a constant body temperature. The temperature of their body is determined by the outside surroundings. Cold-blooded animals will move around during the day between the shade and the sun to warm up or cool down. Cold-blooded animals are ectothermic, which means outside heat. Reptiles, amphibians, and fish are all cold-blooded.

Warm-blooded animals are able to regulate their internal temperature. They can sweat or pant to cool off and have fur and feathers to help keep them warm. Warm-blooded animals are called endothermic, meaning "heat inside". Only birds and mammals are warm-blooded.

Big and Small

The smallest vertebrate is thought to be a tiny frog called the Paedophryne amauensis. It only grows to about 0.3 inches long. The largest is the blue whale, which can grow to over 100 feet long and 400,000 pounds.

Fun Facts about Vertebrates

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