Invertebrate vs Vertebrate: What Sets Reptiles Apart


When we think of animals, we often categorize them as either invertebrates or vertebrates. Invertebrates are animals without a backbone, while vertebrates are animals with a backbone. Reptiles fall under the category of vertebrates, and they have unique characteristics that set them apart from other animals. Let’s explore what sets reptiles apart from invertebrates and other vertebrates.

Characteristics of Invertebrates

Invertebrates make up the vast majority of animal species on Earth. They come in various shapes and sizes and can be found in almost every habitat. Some common examples of invertebrates include insects, spiders, worms, and mollusks. Invertebrates lack a backbone, which means they do not have a vertebral column that provides support and protection for their central nervous system.

Another characteristic of invertebrates is their exoskeleton. Many invertebrates have an external skeleton made of chitin or other materials that provide structure and support for their bodies. This exoskeleton allows them to have a wide range of shapes and sizes while still providing protection from predators.

Characteristics of Vertebrates

Vertebrates, on the other hand, have a backbone made up of individual vertebrae that protect their spinal cord. This backbone provides support for the body and allows for a wide range of movements. Vertebrates can be found in a variety of habitats, from the depths of the ocean to the highest mountains.

One group of vertebrates that stands out are reptiles. Reptiles are a diverse group of animals that share several characteristics that set them apart from other vertebrates.

What Sets Reptiles Apart

Reptiles are cold-blooded animals, which means they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. This is in contrast to mammals, which are warm-blooded and can regulate their body temperature internally. Reptiles often bask in the sun to warm themselves up and become more active.

Another characteristic of reptiles is their scaly skin. Reptiles have dry, scaly skin that helps protect them from desiccation and other environmental factors. Their skin is covered in scales made of keratin, which provides a tough and protective outer layer.

Most reptiles lay eggs, although there are some species of reptiles that give birth to live young. Reptile eggs have a leathery shell that protects the developing embryo from drying out. This is in contrast to bird eggs, which have hard shells. Some reptiles, such as certain species of snakes, give birth to live young after the eggs hatch internally.


In conclusion, reptiles are a fascinating group of animals that exhibit unique characteristics that set them apart from invertebrates and other vertebrates. From their cold-blooded nature to their scaly skin and egg-laying habits, reptiles have evolved to thrive in a wide range of environments. By understanding what sets reptiles apart, we can appreciate the diversity of life on Earth and the incredible adaptations that have allowed these animals to survive and thrive for millions of years.


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