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Most animals are also diploid in nature and reproduce sexually by the formation of gametes.

The diverse world around us, with millions of biotic and abiotic components that make up our ecosystem, is nothing less of a wonder. Of them, the biotic or the living community can be further subdivided into two broad groups- plants, and animals. In this discussion, we explore the kingdom animalia and the various phyla that it houses, along with their distinctive features. Kingdom Animalia Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic life forms, characterized by heterotrophic mode of nutrition and inhabit all types of ecosystems including terrestrial, freshwater and marine. They can be further segregated into two groups based on the presence of notochord- chordates and invertebrates. Chordates constitute only 5% of the animal kingdom while the invertebrates claim the remaining majority. Vertebrates form a subphylum under chordates and are characterized by the presence of a vertebral column or backbone. With an exception of sponges, all animal cells are organized into tissues and in majority, the tissues organize to form well-defined organs and organ systems for carrying out essential bodily functions. Most animals are also diploid in nature and reproduce sexually by the formation of gametes. The following are the major phyla that constitute the animal kingdom and their respective features that distinguish them from one another. Phylum Porifera

Example: Spongilla (freshwater sponge) Phylum Cnidaria

Example: Adamsia (Sea anemone), Meandrina (Brain coral) Phylum Platyhelminthes

Example: Fasciola (liver fluke) Phylum Aschelminthes

Example: Wucheraria bancrofti (filarial worm) Phylum Annelida

Example: Hirudinaria (leech), Pheretima (earthworm) Phylum Arthropoda

Example: Apis (honey bee), Periplanata (cockroach) Phylum Mollusca

Example: Pila (apple snail), Dentalium (tusk shell) Phylum Echinodermata

Example: Echinoidea (sea urchin), Antedon Phylum Protochodata

Example: Ptychodera, Balanoglossus (tongue worm) Phylum Chordata

 Example: Scoliodon (dog fish), Betta (fighter fish), Bufo (toad), Draco (flying    lizard), Corvus (crow), Panthera leo (lion), Homo sapiens (Human).

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