Animals - The kingdom of animals: who they are, how and where they live and their habits "

Animals - The kingdom of animals: who they are, how and where they live and their habits


This section is dedicated to the mysterious and fantastic world of animals and wants to give credit to those who, for more than a billion years, have been adapting to live on planet earth following its changes and evolutions. A mainly visual column where the videos will be the natural frame for the words. In practice, a visual encyclopedia made to try to understand the differences, habitats and behaviors of animals from the best known to the rarest with a particular focus on endangered or endangered species.

It is almost impossible to give a general description of the animals in consideration of the fact that two million species carry with them an extreme variability. Here we will therefore limit ourselves to giving indications on the animals and then leave the detailed study of the characteristics to the individual monographic cards of each class and species.

What are animals

We will talk about that vast complex which is defined as the "animal kingdom" made up of nearly two million species, which occupies the sky, the earth and the sea and which includes all biologically similar beings who have a dominant position among the life forms of our planet thanks to the adaptability of behavior and the ability to move.

There are several main characteristics that distinguish animals from other living beings on earth: they have a body made up of cells with nuclei (multicellular eukaryotic organisms); they obtain the energy necessary to live by ingesting food (heterotrophic organisms) as they are unable to synthesize the raw materials necessary for their nourishment; they have sexual reproduction in most cases even if it is sometimes alternated with phases of asexual reproduction; the body is equipped with nerves and muscles that allow them to move and interact with the environment around them (in at least one stage of their life).

They populate aquatic, terrestrial and air environments; several species live as endoparasites within other living organisms.


The Animalia kingdom it is made up of more than one and a half million living species and new ones are discovered every day. To put order in this great cauldron, the different species are grouped into taxonomic categories which form the scientific classification system. The creator of this first system was Carlo Linnaeus that in the eighteenth century (established with the publication of Systema naturae) grouped animals and plants into categories based on precise morphological characteristics. Later Charles Darwin proposed that the classification was instead revised according to the evolutionist theories of phylogenetic descent, ie taking into account the evolutionary history of organisms.

Over time, zoologists have faced the problem of what criteria to adopt for a consistent and scientifically correct classification e today, after many reinterpretations, the classification that is adopted is based both on the phylogeny of animals and on the degree of differentiation achieved during evolution in order to find any phylogenetic affinities.

The classification we adopt follows theInternational Code of Zoological Nomenclature (International Code of Zoological Nomenclature) or more simply called The Code (Code). The differences that are sometimes found are due to differences in views on the origin, value and affinity of certain animal groups.























- Subphylum



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Bivalvia (bivalve molluscs)

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Gastropod (gastropods)

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Column articulation

We will talk about the different species that are part of a certain class describing, with synthetic cards and rich in videos and photos, how they live, their habitat and geographical distribution; character, behavior and social life; physical characteristics and eating habits; reproduction and how offspring are raised; predation, i.e. which are the predators that can threaten that particular animal species and the state of the population as defined by the IUNC Red list.

We bring you a very funny video that features a great roundup of animals

For suggestions and advice do not hesitate to join us.


The animals (Animalia Linnaeus, 1758) o metazoans (Metazoa Haeckel, 1874) are a kingdom of the domain of the eukaryotes, comprising in total more than 1 800 000 species of classified organisms, present on Earth since the Ediacaran period the number of species gradually discovered is constantly growing, and some estimates lead up to 40 times higher than the real number [1] of the current 1.5 million animal species, 900 000 belong only to the class of Insects. [2]

All eukaryotes with cellular differentiation, heterotrophic and motile during at least one stage of their life are included in the animal kingdom [3]. Furthermore, animals, with few exceptions, are heterotrophic, that is, they consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are capable of movement and grow from a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development.

The animal kingdom groups its members into taxonomic categories defined by the scientific classification system. The biological discipline that studies animals is called zoology. In common parlance, due to anthropocentrism, the term is sometimes misused animal to refer only to those who are not human beings, although the latter are also animals. The correct term in that case is instead non-human animals.

Discovering animals

Two novelties of Il Castoro to familiarize you with the world of letters and numbers: "MY FIRST BOOK OF ABC" and "MY FIRST BOOK OF NUMBERS" (€ 15.90), are two volumes full of colors, shapes and drawings to learn to write and write in joy.

"HOW ANIMALS LIVE" (IdeeAli, 19 euros) is a splendid interactive guide to the animal kingdom, with three-dimensional figures and tabs to lift. How do polar bears cope with the cold? If sloths are so slow, why haven't they all been eaten yet? Which animal is resistant enough to survive even in space? these are just some of the endless questions that the book answers in a stimulating way.

Two novelties from Giralangolo: "BIANCA'S WORDS ARE BUTTERFLIES" (32 pages, 13.50 euros) by Chiara Lorenzoni, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, is a dive into the imagination of a special child, a child who does not hear and does not speak , but has an extraordinary fantasy "ALL CRAZY FOR OLIVER!" by Bob Graham (€ 13.50) is an album that is both funny and delicate. It is a blast to read it aloud. Oliver is lively, exuberant, irrepressible, he is the little dog that Matilde has always wanted. Problem is, Oliver is sometimes just too lively and in a lot of trouble. A solution must be found!

“FACCE” by Antonella Abbatiello (Topipittori, 15 euros) is a book for the very young, dedicated to the most fascinating subject: the human face. A gallery of expressions, emotions, surprises, feelings aroused by the encounter with the other self, so desired, but also so feared. From the same publishing house is “ALFABETO DELLE FIABE”, with text by Bruno Tognolini and illustrations by Antonella Abbatiello (14 euros), an unmissable title in the “Parolamagica” series, dedicated to poetry.

Two beautiful books by Edicart for curious kids: "1000 THINGS TO KNOW" (272 pages, 9.90 euros) contains a sea of ​​curiosities about the Earth, space, science, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Human Body. The small encyclopedia takes young readers into a new and exciting world, where learning is really like playing. Games, small quizzes and playful activities on the topics addressed are designed to fix the concepts in a playful and fun way. “DISCOVERING ANIMALS” (285 pages, € 14.90) introduces all species, their behaviors, habits, habitats. Getting to know the animals of our planet in their environments means deepening our knowledge of the world of nature and learning to defend and preserve it. The book is useful for study and fun for free time: more than 180 files of animals from all over the planet, many photographs in natural habitats, with captions that deepen the text and make it easier to understand, lots of information and fun curiosities about creatures from all over the world.

In "ANIMALI DEL MONDO" (Piemme Junior, 88 pages, 18.50 euros) Geronimo Stilton accompanies young readers to discover animals from all over the world in a book with over 250 splendid photos: from the ferocious ones of the African savannah to the exotic ones of the Asian continent to the mysterious ones of the seabed. A book to be read as a great adventure, but also to be consulted for further information and scholastic research. An exciting journey to learn about each animal and its habitat in an easy and fun way, in the company of Geronimo and his stratumpic friends.

Various news from Piemme Junior also for young readers. For fans of Geronimo Stilton do not miss "THE SUPER ATTACK OF THE ZANNUTE DAISIES" (125 pages, 9.20 euros). For Tea Stilton lovers, here is "A LESSON OF BEAUTY" (130 pages, 9.20 euros) and "THE SECRET DIARY OF TEA SISTERS" (190 pages, 15.90 euros), an all-pink book that allows you to discover the fashion doll and entertain little girls to dress Colette with detachable silhouettes of dresses suitable for every occasion: from dance to a trip to the countryside to a walk by the sea. For Scooby-Doo fans it offers moments of suspense "THE RETURN OF REANKENSTEIN AND OTHER STORIES" (256 pages, € 17.50). In the book, the legendary team solves three very mysterious cases.

"MIDDLE SCHOOL - LET ME GET OUT OF HERE" by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts (Salani, 266 pages, 122 euros) starring Rafe Khatchadorian. After sixth grade (the worst year of his life), he is convinced that he has made it. He was accepted to an art school in the city and he imagines a world finally full of fun and without mathematics and history. Mistaken! School is much more difficult than Rafe expects and, to get a good grade, he needs a way to get the inspiration for an incredible work of art out of his boring life. His method? The "Find a life" operation! Now he will do everything he has never done before, from learning to play poker to going to a modern art museum. But when his new mission reveals his family secrets that Rafe never knew, he'll have to decide if he's really ready to throw his whole world apart. Age of reading: from 11 years.

Two novelties from Rizzoli: "THE GIRL WHO TOUCHED THE SKY" by Luca Di Fulvio (798 pages, € 16.90) is the Italian novel at the top of the German rankings. It tells of Mercury, a con artist. Shrewd, fast, skilled in disguises, he made his home in the sewers of Rome, learning from the street that the only way to survive is to have no one else to think about but himself. Convinced that he has killed a Jewish merchant whom he has just robbed, he is forced to flee: far away he will be able to put together the pieces of his life. Some vases, however, are born broken, and it is not enough to take them elsewhere to make them feel less broken. So here he is in Venice, in its deceptive intertwining of canals, where he meets Giuditta, who arrived in the lagoon with the illusion of finding a place free from persecution against the Jews. But the love that is born between the two is destined to encounter pitfalls and obstacles. "THE COURAGE OF THE DRAGONFLY" by Deborah Ellis (200 pages, € 12.50) tells the story of Casey and Jess, 16, who grew up together in a small town in the Canadian province, a bit claustrophobic, respectable and ruthless towards who is different. In their games as girls and then as girls they have always called themselves mantis and dragonfly. Casey, cheerful and balanced, has an almost obsessive passion for insects. Jess, fragile and insecure, has always found her strength in her friend. But Casey is about to leave her: thanks to a scholarship, she will go to Australia to study her beloved insects and Jess can't forgive her. The dragonfly is convinced that this will be their last summer together, before everything changes. But it is really difficult to imagine how much, how and at what price.

“ALEX & ALEX” by Alyssa Brugman (Giralangolo, 235 pages, 13.50 euros) has as its protagonist a him and her in the same body, a teenager's body. All her life Alex has been told how and who she should be, but now, at 14, she knows that others have always been wrong. She knows she is different from how they see her and is finally ready to state her reasons and become who she really feels she is. Her parents have no idea how to deal with the situation: the father leaves home and the mother almost goes mad, unable to adapt her rigid mental schemes to the new context. After yet another episode of bullying, Alex changes school and starts over. She just wants to be free to show who she really is and feel, for once, what it's like to be a girl like any other.

This is the plot of "DARKNESS AND ICE - THE GRISHA TRILOGY" by Leigh Bardugo (Piemme, 286 pages, 17 euros): surrounded by enemies, what was once the powerful nation of Ravka is now a kingdom divided by conflicts and literally cut in two from the Expanse, a desert of impenetrable darkness, teeming with fierce and hungry monsters. Alina Starkov has always been a good for nothing, an orphan whose only comfort is the friendship of her friend Malyen, known as Mal. Yet, when their regiment is attacked by monsters and he is wounded, Alina awakens an enormous power, the only one capable of defeating the great darkness and restoring peace and prosperity to the country. She was immediately enlisted by the Grisha, the elite of wizards who, in fact, maneuver the entire court, headed by the charming Dark wizard. But at the sumptuous palace, where the intrigues and the luxury of the dances are such as to stun and confuse, nothing is what it seems and Alina will soon find herself facing both the darkness that threatens the kingdom, and those that threaten her heart.

"WHAT MY BABY SAYS" (Il Castoro, 106 pages, 18 euros) is an indispensable book for new parents, illustrated with large black and white photographs. Thanks to a privileged point of view on the life of babies and their families, Dr. Kevin Nugent and photographer Abelardo Morell capture the extraordinary and early communication strategies that newborns demonstrate from the first moments of life. "What my baby says" illustrates the wide range of behaviors of the baby: the first smiles and the first fears, the signs of sleep and hunger, the way he listens to your voice and recognizes your face. Updated research illuminates the meaning of the baby universe and reveals it to new parents: the language of the yawn, the wide range of the cry and how to understand its meaning, sleep, with its states and its first "smiles", and what do they mean, touch, an extremely developed sense in the newborn. With a bright and direct style, “What My Baby Says” gives parents all the information they need, giving them the confidence they need to respond to their baby's communications during the amazing first days of life and in the months that follow.

Where the manatees live

Manatees live in the sea, but they adapt even to live very well in fresh water. Generally, they are found in the Caribbean Sea and in Central and South America. Some specimens, however, have also been sighted in North America.

Anyway, these marine mammals they prefer to place themselves and move mainly in marshy coastal areas. Also, we find them only in water not more than 5 meters deep.

Master Mihaela

Milestones for the development of knowledge

It recognizes the main characteristics and ways of life of animal and plant organisms.

Learning objectives

Observe significant moments in the life of plants and animals.

Identify similarities and differences in the developmental paths of animal and plant organisms.

Didactic methodology: laboratory activity.

Disciplines involved:

mathematics-investigation: favorite animal second C

geometry-symmetry in the animal world

art-collage with animals

geography - animals and environments


Favorite animals survey.

What is the most dangerous animal on the planet?

The most frequent answers are: the lion, the tiger, the snakes.

Children are struck by the fact that the mosquito it is the most dangerous animal.

Animals are living beings that complete a life cycle: they are born, grow, reproduce, die. Unlike plants which are autotrophic organisms, animals feed on other living things and therefore are heterotrophic.

All living beings, over the course of their long evolutionary history, have gradually changed their appearance and their habits of life to adapt to the environment in which they lived. These changes, explained by a great scientist Charles Darwin, have led to today's biodiversity.

Animals populate the whole Earth: some live on land, others fly in the air, still others swim in water, some crawl underground.

The movements are used by animals to find food or water,
to escape predators or to find a male or female for breeding.

Draw an animal for each room.

Place each animal in its own environment.

Find the intruder

Dog, cow, sheep, rabbit, cat, snake, hamster

Frog, tuna, salmon, swallow, jellyfish, seahorse.

Observe an animal. Write what it is like, what it does, what it eats and how it moves. Then draw.

How do animals move?

The teacher asks how the animals observed at home move (the turtle, the cat, the hen, the dog, the bird).

Animals fly, crawl, swim, walk, jump.

Men are able to always walk on their legs, lower limbs.
Rabbits, kangaroos can jump thanks to their long hind legs.
Snakes and other reptiles know how to crawl thanks to the spine which bends very easily.
Birds know how to fly because they have wings. The skeleton is formed in such a way that flight is possible, the bones of the birds are hollow and weigh very little, thus making the body lighter.

Some birds, such as the hen and the ostrich, are unable to fly. Not even the penguin flies: its wings have transformed into agile fins, useful for swimming.

Fish swim fast thanks to the fins and tapered body shape.

What do animals eat?

Animals feed on plants (grass, leaves, fruits, roots, sprouts, nectar) or other animals (insects, worms, larvae, fish, small and large animals).

Depending on their nutrition, animals can be herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Animals that eat only vegetables are called herbivores.

Some mammals, such as giraffes, elephants, zebras, rhinos, panda bears, camels, buffaloes, cows, horses, rabbits, deer, ibex and sheep, are herbivores. Some insects, such as termites, feed only on plants. Bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds suck the nectar of flowers.

Animals that eat meat are called carnivores. Many carnivores are predators, they hunt other animals they eat. Lions, leopards, tigers, wolves, crocodiles, cheetahs, eagles, sharks, snakes, most lizards, some species of turtles and spiders are carnivorous animals. Hyenas and vultures feed on dead animals.

Most amphibians are carnivorous. They feed on insects, crustaceans, snails, worms and small fish. Frogs and salamanders have sticky tongues that they unroll to catch insects, spiders, and other small animals.

Animals that feed on both plants and other animals are called omnivores. Mice, pig, hen, goose, duck, seagull, brown bear, hedgehog, ants are omnivorous animals. Humans are also omnivores: they eat fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

The bear feeds on roots, mushrooms, fish, and sometimes even larger animals.

The hamster is a small rodent that eats mainly seeds, wheat and vegetables.

The crocodile feeds on small animals and fish. It is an animal ............................. ..

The swallow feeds on insects and worms. It is an animal ...........................................................

Reproduction of animals

Reproduction is a phase of the life cycle by which the survival of the species is ensured.

According to the reproduction the animals are oviparous(they lay eggs within which the development of the unborn baby takes place), viviparous(give birth to live children) e ovoviviparous(the eggs remain in the maternal body until the complete development of the young).

Birds they lay hard-shelled eggs. In most species, the female lays her eggs in the nest, which was built by one or both parents, where the eggs will be warm and protected. The nests are built with a wide variety of materials: grasses, twigs, bark, lichen, feathers, leaves, mammal hair, cobwebs, algae, shells, pebbles and even the saliva of the birds themselves.

Fish they are oviparous, except some types of sharks which are ovoviviparous.

Most of the reptiles it is oviparous: the eggs are laid in the sand or in the ground in sunny places, where the heat of the sun makes them open. Some species of snakes and lizards, on the other hand, are ovoviviparous.

Almost all of the mammals they are viviparous, that is, they give birth to fully formed little ones. Some, on the other hand, such as the platypus and the echidna, lay and hatch their eggs in a nest, then breastfeed the newborn babies.

Other mammals, such as kangaroos and koalas, give birth to their babies that are not fully formed. The young complete their development in a special protective pouch (pouch) located on the belly of the female, in which they are suckled.

The lining of the animals

The fish are covered with scales that serve to move better in the water: thanks to the fins and the tail they move easily, with the swim bladder they can climb and descend without effort.

Reptiles are covered with horny scales or plates to prevent dehydration, abrasion and wounds. They are cold-blooded animals so to regulate the temperature of the blood they must stay warm. The scales are composed of a special substance called keratin, which is also found in human hair and nails.

As the animals grow, the scales are periodically renewed through the moult. In fixed periods of the year, a new stratum corneum is produced, after which the old one splits along predetermined breaking lines, detaching itself. Some animals, such as snakes, shed whole, while others lose pieces of "skin" like the iguana.

The scales are also found in some birds, as a lining of the legs and this is considered an indication of the phylogenetic relationship between birds and reptiles.

Amphibians are characterized by the absence of an external coating, they are said to have bare skin. This is also one of the reasons that leads them to always live in close contact with an aquatic environment. They live mainly on land to breathe but reproduce in water.

The birds are covered with feathers and feathers, the former serve to fly while the latter protect them from the cold. The plumages play a very important role in the courtship phase because in these animals the most developed sense is sight.

The females take on colors similar to those of the surrounding environment in order to hide from the eyes of predators, especially during the hatching phase.

Mammals are the only class of animals covered with hair that does not lay eggs and that produces milk to raise cubs.

How many legs?

Vertebrates and invertebrates

How do animals defend themselves?

How they defend themselves from the cold

• hibernate (hedgehog, dormouse, frog, snake, bat, bear, marmot, snail, badger, porcupine, marmots, dormice, hamsters.

• thicken the hair or feathers (hare, fox, wolf, sparrows, lynxes and deer ...)
• they go in semiletargo (squirrel, mouse, salamanders, snakes, vipers, frogs, bats, owls, owls, barn owls ...)
• migrate far away (swallows, storks, ducks, cuckoos, penguins, whales, crickets, ...)
• die (wasps, hornets ...)

Many birds make migrations, that is, long seasonal movements from one region to another, forming large flocks.

Several species of whales and dolphins spend a lot of time in the cold waters of the far north. These mammals do not suffer from the cold, because they are protected by a very thick covering of fat that is found just under their skin.

Animals and hibernation

Hibernation is a deep sleep of varying duration that changes according to the animal species. Before going into hibernation, animals stock up on food or eat a lot to accumulate fat and prepare warm burrows. During hibernation some animals never wake up, while others wake up and consume food. The heart of hibernating animals beats slowly so as not to consume as much energy while the fat reserve allows the animals to sleep. In spring, when they wake up, they are very hungry.

How they defend themselves from dangers

Organisms in an ecosystem depend on each other for food, they are part of the food chain.

Each species has a specific defensive tactic, there are various strategies that are put in place.

For an African elephant that can reach 5 meters in height, 3 meters in length and 6-7 tons in weight, there are no problems for the defense.

When it has enemies around it, the eel emits electric discharges of weak intensity to warn to stay away if someone gets too close, the discharge can even kill the predator.

The chameleon defends itself by changing color rapidly, blending in with the environment so as not to be seen by predators.

Some crustaceans and fish acquire a transparent color that is confused with the water in which they live, associating immobility in the presence of the predator.

Zebras live in herds. In this way, a greater number of individuals can see the arrival of predators and the group is more protected.

Bees also live closely together in their colonies. The queen who directs the hive and lays the eggs. All the other bees help each other and take care of the queen.

Bears are solitary while females live together with their young
until they are old enough to provide for their own needs.

Even in mammals, as in birds, the coat colors recall those of the environment in which the animal lives, hiding it from the sight of enemies or prey, thanks to the phenomenon called mimicry.

Many reptiles have a color that allows them to blend in to hunt better or to hide from predators. Snakes that live on trees, for example, are often green, to be able to blend in with the leaves, or dark, to blend in with the branches.

Some animals protect themselves in a shell, such as mussels and clams.

Some animals use their horns or their horns to defend themselves: deer, chamois, rhinos.

Lizards' tails can fall off and grow back. If a predator grabs the lizard by the tail, the animal can escape by separating from it.

The sole spends most of the day camouflaging itself in the sandy bottoms, where it remains sunken motionless to escape predators, however becoming an active hunter at night. It feeds on small fish, polychaetes (worms), molluscs and crustaceans.

The puffer fish, at the slightest sign of danger, rises to the surface, fills the sac attached to the stomach with air, turns on its back and turns into a ball bristling with quills. In this way it manages to generate fear in the aggressor and to defend itself. When the danger has passed, it deflates by emitting a kind of whistle.

Ostriches cannot fly, but their paws are equipped with strong, pointed nails when in danger they can reach incredible speeds.

Gazelles, fallow deer, antelopes, hares, rabbits run quickly in a zig-zag way: first in one direction, then in another, they go around shrubs, trees, stones.

Possums, on the other hand, are great actors. To save their skin they pretend to be dead.

Lemmings can defend against predators much larger than themselves, thanks to their “multicolored” fur and the ability to emit high-pitched screams and whistles.

The cloak of the lion, of hazelnut color, which blends perfectly with the ground and the high vegetation of the savannah, allows it to hunt.

Some species of ants defend themselves by spraying a liquid which dries up and becomes resinous and paralyzes enemies.

Some species of African snakes manage to sprout venom up to 2.4 meters away.

Some bird species, such as finches, can survive by building their nests near wasp's honeycombs. A species of African antelope lives in communities with elephants, rhinos, giraffes, exploiting the ability of these herbivores to know how to defend themselves.

Le tartarughe o le chiocciole, compensano la lentezza con il guscio protettivo, che li difende da molti attacchi. Le lumache senza guscio secernono un muco difensivo particolarmente appiccicoso che altri animali cercano di evitare.

Le marmotte vivono in gruppo e non si allontanano dalla tana collegata a gallerie sotterranee che scavano con le zampe e gli artigli quando sentono il predatore la regola è fuggire. La marmotta che fa da sentinella si alza ritta sulle zampe posteriori nella posizione “a candela” quando percepisce il pericolo emette un fischio simile a un grido e tutto il gruppo si rifugia nella tana.

Le volpi vivono in piccoli gruppi formati da una maschio e sei femmine con i loro piccoli. E’ un animale notturno. Di giorno si ripara sotto i cespugli, nei piccoli fossi, nelle tane scavate da lei o nelle tane di tasso o di istrice abbandonate.

La femmina dello stambecco ha delle corna corte e appuntite che servono per difendere i propri piccoli.

Animali vertebrati e invertebrati

Gli scienziati dividono gli animali in due grandi gruppi: vertebrati e invertebrati. Nel gruppo degli invertebrati ci sono 95% degli animali presenti sulla terra. Gli animali vertebrati hanno uno scheletro interno con una colonna vertebrale che sostiene il corpo.

La colonna vertebrale è costituita da piccole ossa chiamate vertebre.

Il loro corpo si divide in tre zone: testa, tronco ed estremità, e alcune specie possiedono anche la coda. Si stima che esistono più di 62.000 specie animali che fanno parte di questo gruppo. La categoria degli animali vertebrati si suddivide in 5 gruppi principali: mammiferi, uccelli, pesci, anfibi e rettili. Esistono anche altre distinzioni, come per esempio tra quelli di sangue caldo (uccelli e mammiferi) e quelli di sangue freddo (rettili, anfibi e pesci).

Gli invertebrati non hanno uno scheletro interno. Alcuni hanno uno scheletro esterno detto esoscheletro.

Animali a sangue freddo e animali a sangue caldo

Ogni animale necessita di cibo per ottenere energia.
Gli animali che ricavano il loro calore corporeo dal nutrimento, come gli uccelli e i mammiferi, sono animali a sangue caldo. Altre specie come i rettili, gli anfibi, i pesci e gli insetti, non sono in grado di produrre il proprio calore e vengono chiamati animali a sangue freddo. Questi animali dipendono dalle fonti di calore che si trovano nel loro ambiente, come il sole, l’acqua oppure il terreno, per mantenere la loro temperatura corporea.

Dal momento che dipendono dal sole per mantenere la loro temperatura corporea, i rettili e gli anfibi non hanno abbastanza calore a disposizione durante l’inverno. Di conseguenza, i loro movimenti rallentano e quando diventa troppo freddo vanno in letargo. La loro temperatura scende significativamente, il cuore rallenta e non hanno più bisogno di nutrirsi. Quando fa di nuovo abbastanza caldo, si svegliano.

Credo che non sia mai troppo presto affrontare il tema ambientale con i bambini.

I mormoni: chi sono, dove e come vivono i seguaci di Joseph Smith

THE mormoni sono un gruppo religioso che abbraccia il concetto di cristianesimo ma anche le rivelazioni del suo fondatore, Joseph Smith. Appartengono principalmente alla Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni, con sede a Salt Lake City, nell’Utah, che ha oltre 15 milioni di membri nel mondo. La religione dei mormoni è stata fondata ufficialmente nel 1830 quando è stato pubblicato il Libro di Mormon. L’interesse nel gruppo religioso si è riacceso con la notizia nelle ultime ore di una famiglia di mormoni, inclusi bambini e neonati, sterminata in Messico. Un gruppo di tre madri con i loro 14 figli, partito con tre auto da Bavispe, nello stato di Sonora, è stato circondato e massacrato da uomini armati, probabilmente membri di un cartello della droga messicano: il drammatico bilancio è di 9 morti (di cui 6 bambini) e 8 feriti.

Le credenze dei mormoni

Tempio mormone a Salt Lake City

Oggi la Chiesa di Gesù Cristo dei Santi degli Ultimi Giorni (detta LDS) è più diffusa negli Stati Uniti (il 35% dei mormoni si trova nell’Utah), in America Latina, Canada, Europa, Filippine, Africa e parti dell’Oceania. Esistono 29.000 congregazioni in tutto il mondo e 141 templi. Anche se abbracciano molte credenze cristiane, hanno le loro distinte filosofie e pratiche e i loro valori. Ecco le credenze più importanti di questo gruppo religioso.

I mormoni si considerano cristiani, ma molti cristiani non riconoscono il mormonismo come denominazione ufficiale. I mormoni credono nella crocifissione, resurrezione e divinità di Jesus Christ. Sostengono che Dio abbia inviato altri profeti dopo la morte di Gesù. I mormoni seguono 4 diversi testi: la Bibbia cristiana, il Libro di Mormon, Dottrina e Alleanze e la Perla di Grande Valore. Secondo la Chiesa LDS, il Giardino dell’Eden, in cui vissero Adamo ed Eva, si trova nella contea di Jackson, in Missouri. Nel mormonismo, esistono 3 livelli del paradiso, celestiale, terrestre e telestiale: solo le persone nel regno celestiale vivranno in presenza di Dio. I mormoni non riconoscono il concetto cristiano della Trinità, ossia Dio esistente in tre persone. Credono, invece, nel Padre, nel Figlio e nello Spirito Santo come tre divinità diverse. Inoltre, la Chiesa LDS considera Joseph Smith come un profeta.

I mormoni seguono un rigido stile di vita sano che non permette loro di consumare alcol, tabacco, caffè o tè. La vita familiare, le buone azioni, il rispetto per le autorità e l’attività missionaria sono tutti importanti valori per i mormoni. Tra i loro rituali, ce ne sono alcuni che riguardano l’abbigliamento e che includono, per esempio, indossare speciali indumenti intimi che hanno un significato religioso.

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith Jr. nacque in Vermont il 23 dicembre del 1805. Quando aveva 14 anni, disse di aver avuto una visione da Dio e Gesù che gli dissero di non unirsi a nessuna delle chiese confessionali cristiane. 3 anni dopo, Smith disse che gli apparve un angelo, chiamato Moroni, che gli rivelò che era stato scelto per tradurre il Libro di Mormon, un testo sacro scritto intorno al IV secolo che deve il suo nome al padre di Moroni, Mormon. Secondo Moroni, questo libro spirituale conteneva informazioni sugli antichi popoli che abitavano le Americhe. Egli svelò anche che il libro era scritto su tavole d’oro vicino Palmyra (New York), vicino al luogo in cui Smith all’epoca viveva. Dopo diversi tentativi falliti, Smith disse di aver scoperto le tavole d’oro il 22 settembre del 1827. Il Libro di Mormon fu tradotto e pubblicato nel 1830. Smith affermò anche che mentre stava traducendo il libro gli apparve Giovanni Battista, che lo incaricò di ricostituire la chiesa annunciando il vero vangelo.

Dopo la pubblicazione del libro, il mormonismo iniziò a diffondersi e crebbe rapidamente. Smith formò comunità in Missouri, Ohio is Illinois. Fu criticato e perseguitato da molti per le sue nuove idee. Nel febbraio del 1844, fu incarcerato insieme al fratello con l’accusa di tradimento. Il 27 giugno dello stesso anno, furono entrambi uccisi in prigione da un gruppo anti-mormonismo a Carthage, in Illinois. Dopo la morte di Smith, la chiesa si divise. Molti mormoni seguirono Brigham Young, che divenne il successore di Smith. Young guidò un grande gruppo di mormoni perseguitati dall’Illinois alla ricerca della libertà religiosa. Nel 1847, Young raggiunse la Salt Lake Valley, nell’Utah.

Il mormonismo oggi

Sebbene la chiesa LDS abbia vietato la poligamia nel 1890, i mormoni storicamente sposavano molte mogli. Negli ultimi anni, la chiesa ha riconosciuto che Joseph Smith sposò 40 donne. Oggi, i mormoni disapprovano la poligamia e scelgono di sposare una sola donna, ma ancora un piccolo numero di fondamentalisti, che si è separato dalla chiesa, continua a praticare il matrimonio plurimo.

I mormoni credono che sia importante condurre una vita che sia gradita a Dio. Molto importante è anche il valore dell’onestà. Alcol, tabacco, tè, caffè is droghe (ad eccezione di quelle per uso medico) sono particolarmente vietati. I mormoni sono anche fortemente scoraggiati dal consumare bevande analcoliche a base di caffeina. The gioco d’azzardo in qualsiasi forma è condannato come un male morale, motivo per il quale i mormoni non devono parteciparvi. Non è dovuto solo ai danni che il gioco d’azzardo può provocare. La chiesa, infatti, crede che sia moralmente sbagliato ottenere del denaro senza aver dato un giusto valore in cambio.

Sono contrari all’aborto e alla rivoluzione sessuale, nemici del movimento femminista e di qualsiasi minaccia alla cultura tradizionale. I mormoni, inoltre, non devono partecipare a pratiche occulte, come l’adorazione di Satana o affiliarsi in nessun modo con l’occulto. Devono, infine, evitare un linguaggio profano, volgare e rozzo.


  • 1 Struttura
    • 1.1 Tegumento, scheletro e muscoli
    • 1.2 Apparato digerente e metabolismo
    • 1.3 Sistema circolatorio
    • 1.4 Apparato respiratorio ed escretore
    • 1.5 Sistema nervoso e organi di senso
    • 1.6 Riproduzione e sviluppo
  • 2 Ecologia
  • 3 Classificazione
  • 4 Sottoregno Parazoa (Parazoi)
  • 5 Sottoregno Phagocytellozoa
  • 6 Sottoregno Mesozoa
  • 7 Sottoregno Eumetazoa (Eumetazoi)
    • 7.1 Ramo Radiata (Radiati) infraregno
    • 7.2 Ramo Bilateria (Bilateri) infraregno
      • 7.2.1 Protostomi
        • Clade Ecdysozoa
        • Clade Lophotrochozoa
        • Clade Platyzoa
        • Non assegnato
      • 7.2.2 Deuterostomi
  • 8 Note
  • 9 Voci correlate
  • 10 Altri progetti
  • 11 Collegamenti esterni

Nella vastità e diversità delle specie appartenenti al regno animale, possiamo generalizzare alcuni aspetti. Con diverse eccezioni, in particolare parazoi, placozoi, e mesozoi, gli animali hanno un corpo differenziato in quattro tessuti distinti: epiteliale, connettivo, muscolare e nervoso. [4] In genere, c'è anche una cavità interna digerente, con una o due aperture. Gli animali con questo tipo di organizzazione sono chiamati eumetazoi [5]

Tutti gli animali hanno cellule eucariotiche, circondate da una caratteristica matrice extracellulare [6] composta di collagene e glicoproteine elastiche. Questa può essere mineralizzata a formare strutture come conchiglie, ossa e spicole [7] . Durante lo sviluppo, secondo un quadro relativamente flessibile ma definito, le cellule possono muoversi e riorganizzarsi, realizzando strutture complesse. Altri organismi pluricellulari come piante e funghi hanno cellule tenute in posizione da pareti cellulari rigide, sviluppando una crescita progressiva. Inoltre, le cellule animali possiedono le giunzioni intercellulari seguenti: occludenti, aderenti e comunicanti. [8]

Tegumento, scheletro e muscoli Modifica

In tutti gli animali, escludendo quelli più primitivi da un punto di vista evolutivo, il tegumento e il sistema muscolare sono variamente in rapporto tra loro e dipendono strettamente dall'ambiente in cui gli organismi vivono. Il tegumento, oltre alla funzione di protezione dell'ambiente interno da eventuali pericoli provenienti dall'ambiente esterno all'animale, può nei vari taxa svolgere anche altre funzioni.

Apparato digerente e metabolismo Modifica

Gli animali, come già ricordato sono organismi eterotrofi, non sono cioè in grado di fabbricarsi da soli l'alimento come le piante, ma devono procurarselo nutrendosi di esse, altri animali o resti animali. Così come per gli altri sistemi e apparati, varie sono le modalità sviluppate dai vari phyla riguardo alle abitudini alimentari, alla digestione delle sostanze ingerite e ai propri processi metabolici. [9]

Sistema circolatorio Modifica

L'apparato circolatorio svolge la funzione di distribuire le sostanze nutritive alle cellule del corpo. Può eventualmente contenere anche cellule e pigmenti respiratori (emoglobina, emocianina), e quindi distribuire l'ossigeno. Può essere chiuso (Anellidi, Vertebrati, molluschi Cefalopodi) o aperto (Insetti, gli altri Molluschi), o addirittura mancare del tutto, come in alcuni Phyla. [10]

Apparato respiratorio ed escretore Modifica

La funzione svolta dall'apparato respiratorio è la respirazione. La finalità di questo processo è rifornire i tessuti di ossigeno e liberarli dall'anidride carbonica, prodotto di scarto dell'attività cellulare. Una qualsiasi superficie sottile, umida, è in grado di adempiere a questa funzione riconosciamo branchie e polmoni a seconda che l'animale sia acquatico o meno. [11] L'apparato escretore si occupa di eliminare cataboliti, principalmente prodotti azotati, dall'organismo, sotto forma di ammoniaca, urea o acido urico. [12]

Sistema nervoso e organi di senso Modifica

Gli organismi unicellulari sono in grado di rispondere a uno stimolo esterno con una reazione, dimostrandosi eccitabili o irritabili. Dal passaggio alle forme pluricellulari nasce la necessità di un sistema nervoso capace di gestire e coordinare le funzioni dei vari tessuti, apparati e sistemi in modo che essi agiscano come un'unità. Troviamo neuroni sensoriali e neuroni motori, spesso collegati fra loro attraverso neuroni associativi. [13]

Riproduzione e sviluppo Modifica

La riproduzione può avvenire sessualmente o asessualmente. La riproduzione asessuale, tipica dei Batteri e dei Protozoi, è nel regno animale molto meno diffusa e, sostanzialmente, presente solo nei phyla meno evoluti, dove comunque si può avere anche una riproduzione sessuale. A volte è presente l'alternanza di generazioni.

Per biodiversità si intende l'insieme di tutte le forme viventi, geneticamente dissimili e degli ecosistemi ad esse correlati. Quindi biodiversità implica tutta la variabilità biologica: di geni, specie, habitat ed ecosistemi. L'anno 2010 è stato dichiarato dall'ONU l'Anno internazionale della biodiversità. [14]

È ormai accertato che la nascita della vita è avvenuta nell'ambiente acquatico. [15] Ancora oggi, dei circa 70 phyla di animali viventi conosciuti, la maggioranza abita prevalentemente quest'ambiente. Addirittura esistono phyla che possono essere considerati endemici dell'ambiente marino (13 phyla su 28 che vivono in tale ambiente) mentre nessun phylum viene considerato endemico dell'ambiente delle acque dolci. Dall'acqua, nel corso delle ere geologiche, vari gruppi hanno saputo conquistare spazio nell'ambiente terrestre (1 phylum endemico, gli Onychophora), mentre altri hanno optato per una vita di simbiosi o parassitismo (4 phyla endemici).

Il passaggio dall'ambiente acquatico a quello terrestre è avvenuto grazie all'azione fotosintetica delle alghe unicellulari prima e delle piante poi, che hanno via via arricchito l'atmosfera di ossigeno. Mentre l'acqua infatti è in grado di contenere una bassissima concentrazione di O2 al suo interno, nell'ambiente fuori da queste, le concentrazioni arrivavano addirittura al 20-30% del totale questo ha sicuramente favorito un graduale spostamento degli animali da un ambiente sommerso, scarsamente ossigenato, ad uno emerso, ricco di tale gas. [16]

Diverse classificazioni degli animali, così come quella degli altri regni, sono state proposte nel corso degli anni. [17] Le prime classificazioni si basavano perlopiù su caratteristiche morfologiche, prendendo in considerazione, a seconda dell'autore un numero più o meno grande di caratteri. Successivamente si è passati a raggruppare gli organismi considerando anche il loro sviluppo embrionale. Negli ultimi anni, così come avviene per gli altri regni, si cerca una classificazione basata su studi di genetica molecolare, in base al principio che determinati geni si conservano pressoché uguali nei vari raggruppamenti e il numero di variazioni nelle basi del Dna può essere correlato col tempo trascorso dall'allontanamento da un antenato comune (Orologio Molecolare).
Cronologicamente si fanno risalire ad Aristotele le prime osservazioni tassonomiche, raccolte nei vari scritti scientifici come "Ricerche sugli animali", "Le parti degli animali" e "Sulla generazione degli animali". Sebbene venga spesso considerato il padre fondatore della Zoologia moderna, Aristotele non propose mai un sistema tassonomico esaustivo e scientifico. I suoi studi erano per lo più annotazioni di carattere ora scientifico, ora fisiologico ora etologico, senza applicare in nessun caso un vero progetto tassonomico teorico.
Dalle sue notazioni emerge comunque una primitiva suddivisione del regno Animale affine per certi aspetti a quella moderna. Aristotele suddivideva gli animali in due primi gruppi, gli Enaima (Animali con sangue) ed Anaima (Animali senza sangue). Al primo gruppo appartenevano l'Uomo, i Quadrupedi, i Cetacei, i Pesci e gli Uccelli. Al secondo appartenevano la maggior parte dei Crostacei decapodi, dei Molluschi e quelli che Aristotele definiva Entoma, vale a dire un insieme più o meno confuso degli attuali Insetti, Miriapodi, Aracnidi, Anellidi e Vermi parassiti. Il criterio di classificazione che Aristotele adottò per gli Entoma fu la suddivisione del corpo degli animali in più segmenti ben individuabili, sulla faccia ventrale, dorsale o entrambe. Se si escludono gli Anellidi e i Vermi parassiti la definizione aristotelica di Entoma si avvicina molto a quella contemporanea degli Artropodi. [18]
Aristotele si interessò, seppure marginalmente, anche dei Vegetali. Le sue intuizioni al riguardo non furono vicine a quelle moderne come invece è stato per gli Animali. Aristotele sosteneva infatti che le Piante si fossero originate a partire da animaletti dalle dimensioni modeste provvisti di un gran numero di zampe che, a causa di una vita sempre più immobile e sedentaria, avrebbero perso le articolazioni finali andando a sostituire le funzioni vitali svolte dalla bocca.
Le teorie zoologiche di Aristotele ricevettero molto successo nel corso del tempo rispetto a quelle botaniche, tant'è che perdurarono per circa duemila anni soprattutto grazie alle adesioni che i suoi libri ricevettero da parte dei primi scrittori e teologi cristiani, come Origene, sant'Agostino e san Tommaso d'Aquino: una tendenza che continuò nei tempi successivi come nel XVI secolo con l'opera del presbitero Giovanni Domenico de Nigris che si dedicò alla descrizione di animali secondo un'ottica religiosa.

Segue una classificazione (incompleta) del regno terminante con le varie classi di ogni phylum e comprendente (quando è indicato) categorie tassonomiche intermedie: [19]

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