Examples of Vertebrate Animals: Definition, Characteristics, Classification

Examples of Vertebrate Animals  – Vertebrates are a group of animals that have a backbone. In the classification system, vertebrates are a subphylum of the phylum Chordata. Phylum Chordata consists of three subphyla, namely Urochordata, Cephalochordata, and vertebrates. Check out more about the explanation of vertebrates below, Sinaumed’s!


Vertebrate animals are a group of animals that have a backbone. The spine originates from the development of the primary body support axis or notochord (dorsal chord). Vertebrate notochord exists only in the embryonic period, after adulthood it will experience reinforcement to become a secondary body support system, namely the spine (vertebrae).

In the classification system, vertebrates are a subphylum of the phylum Chordata. Chordata includes animals that have the following characteristics:

  • It has a notochord, which is a hard but flexible rod-shaped skeleton. The notochord lies between the alimentary canal and the nerve cord, extending the length of the body to form the axis of the skeleton.
  • It has a single, perforated nerve cord located dorsal to the notochord, and has an enlarged anterior end in the form of a brain.
  • It has a tail that extends posteriorly to the anus.
  • Has pharyngeal slits.


Some vertebrate animal skins are covered with fur and some are covered with hair. Internal organs, such as the digestive, heart, and respiratory organs are contained within a body cavity or coelom. In addition, vertebrate animals have complete organs, which make up their organ systems including the digestive system that extends from the mouth to the anus, a closed circulatory system (blood flows in the blood vessels), excretory organs in the form of kidneys, respiratory organs in the form of lungs. or gills, a pair of reproductive organs (right and left) and the endocrine system which functions to produce hormones. The following are other characteristics of vertebrate animals:

  • Has nerves consisting of the brain and spinal cord
  • Respire with skin and gill lungs.
  • Has round and endoxin glands that produce controlling hormones.
  • Having a hot and steady body temperature (homoiternal) or a cold body temperature according to environmental conditions (poikiloternal).
  • The digestive tract extends from the mouth to the anus, which is located next to the vertran and behind.
  • Epidermis (outer) and endodermis (inner) skin.
  • Reproductive organs in pairs, except in birds.



Pisces has a habitat in the water with gills for breathing. This animal has fins that function to determine the direction of motion in the water and has lateral lines to determine water pressure. Including cold-blooded animals (poikilothermic), namely body temperature adjusted to the environment. Pisces reproduce by laying eggs (ovipar). Based on the type of bones, fish are divided into 3 groups, namely:

  • Agnatha (Jawless Fish): Order Agnatha, Examples of species Petromyzon, lampreys, Polistrotema (hag fish), Examples of species Polystrotema (hag fish)
  • Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fish, Examples of species: Bison-headed shark (Heterodontus sp), Hammerhead shark (Spyrna tudes), Dog-headed shark (Squalus acanthias), Stingray (Dasyatis sabina), Tiger shark (Sphyrna blochii)
  • Osteichthyes or fish with hard bones, for example: carp, gourami, tuna. Pisces vertebrate


Amphibians are animals that can live in two habitats, namely land and water, but not all types of Amphibians live in two places of life. Some types of frogs, salamanders, and caecilians exist only in water and exist only on land. However, their overall habitat is close to water and damp places such as swamps and tropical rainforests. These animals breathe with gills, lungs and have a poikilothermic body temperature, reproduce by laying eggs (ovipar) and fertilization occurs outside the body (external). Amphibians are divided into 3 orders, namely:

  • Order Stegoephalia: An example of the species is Ichtyopsis
  • Order Caudata: Examples of species are Cryptobranchus (river salamander), Hynobius (Salamander that lives on the plains of Asia), Megalobatrachus maximus (Salamander commonly eaten in Japan)
  • Anura Order: An example of the species is Rana sp. (Frog), Polypedates leucomystax (Tree frog), Microhyla (Frog), Bufo Marinus (Big frog)

So that Sinaumed’s can understand more deeply about Amphibian animals, the book Why? The Reptiles and Amphibians by YeaRimDang contains various explanations and understandings packaged in picture form to make it easier and more interesting to read.


Reptiles (in Latin, reptiles = reptiles) have scaly skin made of horny substance (keratin). Scales function to prevent dryness. Other features shared by most reptiles are five-fingered limbs, breathing with lungs, three or four bear hearts, using environmental energy to regulate body temperature so they are classified as poikilothermic animals, internal fertilization, producing eggs so they are classified as oviparous with shelled eggs. . Reptilia is divided into 4 Orders:

  • Chelonian Order
  • Rhynchocephalia
  • Squamata
  • Crocodilia

If Sinaumed’s wants to know the various types of reptiles, the book Reptilpedia by Christina Wilsdon discusses each type of reptile in detail along with colorful photos and dancing facts about reptiles.


Aves have a homoiterm body temperature (body temperature is constant, not affected by ambient temperature). It has a hairy body that forms wings and is used for flying. The bones are hollow so they are light. Breed by laying eggs (ovipar) and fertilization in the body. Aves eggs are shelled and have a large yolk. These animals breathe with the lungs and have air sacs that help breathing while flying. Example: chicken, cassowary, penguin, duck, goose. Aves is divided into several Orders:

  • Order Colombiforines
  • Order Coracaiiformes
  • Order Grana Cares
  • Order of the Nato Torres
  • Order of Rapaces
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In understanding this type of aves, Sinaumed’s can read a book entitled Aves Invertebrata – Exploring the Animal World written by Genevieve De Becker which explains it easily and also interestingly.


A distinctive feature of mammals is the mammary glands. Milk is produced by glands (mammae) located in the stomach or chest area. Mammalia are also called mammals because they suckle their young.

Mammals’ bodies are covered with hair which functions as insulation which slows down heat exchange with the environment, as a sense of touch, among others, on the mustache, as protection from friction and sunlight, as a disguise or defense to protect against prey, and as a sex characteristic.

Mammalia reproduce by giving birth (viviparous). These animals have a homoiterm body temperature (fixed body temperature) and breathe with the lungs. Mammals have a more developed brain compared to other vertebrate animals. Various orders of mammals:

  • Order Insectivora
  • Order of the Phalidata
  • Order Chiroptera
  • Marsupial Order
  • Order Prosboscidae
  • Order Artidactea

4. Examples of Vertebrate Animals

Some examples of vertebrate animals, as follows:

  1. Bison Headed Shark (Heterodontus sp)
  2. Hammerhead shark (Spyrna tudes)
  3. Goldfish
  4. Gouramy
  5. Mackarel tuna.
  6. Tree frog (Polypedates leucomystax )
  7.  Penguin
  8. Duck
  9. Swan

After discussing several examples of vertebrate animals, to make it easier for you to understand vertebrate animals, the next discussion is the morphology and anatomy of vertebrate animals.


The morphology and anatomy of vertebrate animals is divided based on the classification of vertebrate animals, namely fish, amphibians, reptiles, aves, and mammals.


Each type of fish or fish has a different anatomy in their body, such as sharks that never stop swimming, and many more are discussed in the book Animal Anatomy Series: Sharks and Other Fish by David West.

Pisces (fish) is an animal that lives in water, they can breathe underwater because they have gills. Pisces can be found in fresh water (lakes or rivers) or salt water (seas or oceans). Pisces are cold-blooded animals (poikilothermic), which means their body temperature changes according to the temperature of the water in which they live.

Fish are the most diverse group of vertebrates, with more than 27,000 species worldwide. Most of the body structure of fish is formed by the skeleton, the bones that make up the body are cartilage, and also true bones. The gills and tail they each have can help them to move quickly in the water.

Morphological Characteristics:

  • It is covered with scales and has lateral lines to determine swimming direction and position
  • The body consists of the Head
  • The skeleton is composed of true bones
  • No auricles

Anatomical Features:

  • Have a liver, but the stomach is only an enlargement of the intestine. In the intestine there are spiral valves
  • Have gills that have an operculum and gill slits. The swim bladder consists of oxygen, CO₂, N₂, and functions as a breathing apparatus. In dipnoi there are pneumatocysts which function as lungs when fish live in mud containing little water
  • The heart bears two, the blood gets O₂ in the gill filaments
  • Having pronephrons or kidneys. In aghata there is no renal portal system
  • The brain consists of 5 sections of 10 cranial nerves
  • Females have a pair of ovaries and a pair of oviducts, oviparous or viviparous


Each type of amphibian also has a different anatomy from one another, such as frogs that can live on land as well as water and salamander skin that is moist and also thin. The differences between frogs and toads are explained in a book entitled Animal Anatomy Series: Frogs and Other Amphibians. by David West.

Amphibians are animals with high humidity skin, not covered by hair and are able to live in water or on land. Amphibia comes from the Greek, namely Amphi which means two and Bios which means life. Therefore, amphibians are defined as animals that have two forms of life, namely on land and in water.

Amphibians are the smallest group of vertebrates, numbering only 3,000 species. Like fish and reptiles, amphibians are cold-blooded animals. This means that amphibians cannot regulate their own body temperature. For this reason, amphibians need the sun to warm their bodies. Initially, amphibians started life in waters and carried out respiration using gills. Along with the growth of the lungs and legs develop and amphibians can walk on land.

Morphological Characteristics:

  • Can live in water and on land or damp places
  • Also called animals that have a place to live (habitat) in two realms
  • Animals breathe with lungs and skin.
  • The skin consists of the dermis
  • Has no ears

Anatomical Features:

  • Digestion is perfect, the jaws are also cloaced.
  • Tongue mouth
  • Respiratory organs in the form of lungs, skin, and gills. Gas exchange occurs in the skin. The larvae breathe with gills
  • Three bear heart, two atria and one chamber. Closed circulation includes the carotid, systemic, and pulmocutaneous arteries. It has 3 kinds of veins namely the kafa vein, portal vein, and pulmonary vein.
  • Mesonephroid type kidney with urinary tract urine exits through the cloaca. The bladder is a thin bubble on the ventral side of the cloaca
  • The brain is divided into five sections with 10 cranial nerves.
  • Has endocrine glands and thyroid glands.
  • Eggs encased in gelatin, placed in water, hatch into larvae and undergo metamorphosis into adult frogs.


In reptile animals, we can also see how lizards can break their tails, chameleons can change their body color, and many more are described in the book Animal Anatomy Series: Crocodiles and Other Reptiles by David West.

The word Reptilia comes from the word reptum which means creeping. Reptiles are the first group of land animals to breathe with lungs throughout their lives. The common feature of this class that distinguishes it from other classes is that its entire body is covered with dry skin or scales.

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This skin covers the entire surface of the body and in some members of certain orders or sub-orders it can peel or shed its skin either totally, namely in members of the Ophidia sub-order and partially exfoliating in members of the Lacertilia sub-order.

The skin of reptiles has very few skin glands. Reptiles are included in vertebrates which are generally tetrapods, but in some of them their limbs are reduced or completely lost as in serpentes and some lacertillas. Reptiles that do not experience limb reduction generally have 5 fingers or pentadactylus and each finger has a claw.

Morphological Characteristics:

  • Dry scaly skin of horny substance due to a substance keritin
  • Cold-blooded (porcholioconal), i.e. those whose body temperature is affected by ambient temperature
  • Locomotion tools in the form of legs and tail Do not have ears

Anatomical Features:

  • It has hearts, prankeas, teeth and tongues
  • Pulmonary breathing apparatus with long, cartilaginous ringed trachea
  • Has 2 aortic that turns left and right. The heart of a bear has 4, namely 2 atria and 2 chambers but the partition between the 2 chambers is not perfect. Has nucleated erythrocytes. In some reptiles the partition between the right ventricle and left ventricle is not perfect so that dirty blood and clean blood can still mix.
  • Has a pair of flattened kidneys, there are ureters that empty into the cloaca, although they also have urinary contents
  • The central nervous system is the brain with 12 pairs of cranial nerves. Shelled eggs.
  • To regulate body temperature, reptiles carry out a basking mechanism, namely basking in the sun.
  • The excretory duct of Class Reptilia ends in the cloaca. There are two types of cloaca that are specific to the reptilian orders. Cloacas with transverse slits are found in the Squamata Order, namely the Lacertilia Sub-order and the Ophidia Sub-order. The cloaca with longitudinal slits is found in the Chelonian Order and the Crocodilian Order.


Why can penguins live in cold temperatures and why can owls see in the dark? All matters regarding the types of aves will be discussed in a book entitled Animal Anatomy Series: Penguins and Other Poultry.

Aves are vertebrate animals whose entire body is covered with hair. The fur originates from the epidermis of the skin and is a modification of the scales in reptiles. Feathers on birds can adapt to their environment to form wings so that some aves have the ability to fly.

As for birds that have wings but cannot fly, such as ostriches, chickens, kiwis, turkeys, etc. In addition, aves are homoiterm animals or warm-blooded animals and reproduce by laying eggs and then being incubated until they hatch (Ovipar). The science that studies birds is ornithology.

Morphological Characteristics:

  • The visual, auditory and vocal organs are well developed
  • Warm-blooded (homoioteral)
  • Hairy skin
  • Has no ears
  • Have wings

Anatomical Features:

  • Have salivary glands, pancreatic glands, and a liver that produces bile
  • Breathe with the lungs which are connected with air sacs which are also connected with the pipe bones
  • The heart is covered by a pericardial membrane, bears 4, namely 2 atria, 2 vertical, with perfect chamber partitions. One aortic arch on the right. Only has 1 port system
  • Metanephron-type kidney. Has no bladder. The renal portal vein is not divided into renal capillaries
  • The brain’s central nervous system with 12 pairs of cranial nerves
  • Male animals do not have a penis, female animals only have one ovary


What makes whales able to shoot water from their heads and why are gorillas often considered intelligent animals? Check out all the information about mammals in the book Animal Anatomy Series: Whales and Other Mammals from David West.

Mammals are also called mammals, because mammals are animals that have mammary glands as a source of food for their children, their bodies are covered with hair, have vertebrates or are warm-blooded animals. These mammals have or have more than > 5000 species spread all over the world. Indonesia has approximately 165 endemic species of mammals. Morphological Characteristics:

  • Generally live on land, but some live in water such as whales, dolphins
  • hot-blooded
  • On the skin there are sweat glands and oil glands Have auricles

Anatomical Features:

  • Inside the mouth there is a hard upper palate and a soft back. The digestive glands are 4 pairs of salivary glands, liver and gallbladder and pancreas.
  • With 2 lobes of the lung each in a separate pleural space. There is a larynx roofed by the epiglottis as a vocal organ.
  • There are 2 pieces of anterior vena cava left and right. Bear heart 4 with perfect partition. Red blood cells are not nucleated
  • A pair of metanephric-type kidneys, shaped like peas. The chambers of the kidney and bladder are connected by a pair of ureters. Urine exits through the urogenital opening.
  • Central nervous system: relatively large cerebrum and cerebellum; There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves. The genital opening and anus are separate. Male animals have a copulation tool in the form of a penis. The testicles produce spermatozoids and are in the scrotal sac. Ovum is very small.

Summary of Vertebrate Animals

From all the discussion above, it can be concluded that vertebrate animals have 5 classifications, the first is pisches, the second is amphibians, reptiles, aves, and mammals. The five classifications have their own characteristics, so that the shape of each different classification of vertebrate animals is very different. Not only that, each classification of vertebrate animals already has their own habitat, for example, fish that live in water (Pisces) or frogs that can live in water and on land (amphibians).

Thus the definition, characteristics, classification and morphology and anatomy of vertebrate animals. Hopefully useful Sinaumed’s!