What are Reptiles?
The term reptile originated from Latin “repere”. It meant “to crawl”, which is a defining aspect of reptiles. Those are members of Class Reptilia which are cold-blooded animals. Moreover, it has four orders –
Example – crocodile, alligator
Example – lizard, snake
Example – turtle, tortoise
Example – tuataras
Characteristics of Reptiles
The main characteristics are –
Prefers to live in warm habitats
Presence of nasal slits and Jacobson’s organ (except in crocodile and turtle)
Body covered by scales
Note that main difference between mammals and reptiles can be seen in body covering. Presence of body hair is defining characteristics of mammals whereas reptiles have keratin epidermal layer called scales. Consequently, mammals have sweat glands which are not present in reptiles.
What are Amphibians?
Amphibians are members of Class Amphibia which live both on land and water. Furthermore, it primarily comprises three orders –
Example – frog
Example – salamander
Example – caecillians
Characteristics of Amphibians
The main characteristics are –
Amphibians cannot regulate body temperature
Existence of larval stage that starts after eggs are hatched
They can live both in land and water. Hence, amphibians can breathe both through gills and lungs
While reproduction of any living being is a natural course, in case of reptiles it is dependent in temperature to a large extent. In addition, most of the reptiles lay eggs except pythons and boas which give birth to young ones.
Moreover, it is the soil temperature that determines whether the new hatchling will be male or female!
Read on to know what is the difference between amphibians and reptiles.
It is considered that reptiles primarily originated from amphibians, environmental factors led to the evolution of the former species. Thereby, the unique features apparent in amphibians and reptiles difference helped to ensure survival of these species.
Difference between Amphibians and Reptiles
Similarities between Amphibians and Reptiles
Even though there are difference between amphibians and reptiles in points, owing to amphibians previously zoologically classified as reptiles leads to similarities shared by the species. Both belong to phylum Chordata and subphylum Vertebrata.
Body metabolism is ectothermic, that is, body temperature changes corresponding to extraneous factors
Omnivorous eating habit
Presence of cloaca as the common outlet for intestinal, urinary and genital functions
Reflex spinal segments help in locomotion
Test Your Knowledge
i. Reptile eggs are also -
ii. Tail-less amphibian found under which order?
(a) Order Anura
(b) Order Caudata
(c) Order Gymnophiona
(d) Both under order Gymnophiona and order Caudata
[Refer to the answers provided at the end of the article]
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1. What are the major aspects to differentiate between amphibians and reptiles?
The major difference between amphibians and reptiles are – amphibians can breathe both through lungs and gills and exhibits external fertilisation, whereas reptiles can only breathe through lungs and reproduce through internal fertilisation.
2. Mention similarities between reptiles and amphibians.
Despite difference between amphibians and reptiles, those regulate their body temperature. Moreover, cloaca is present, and acts as a common passage for a genital, intestinal and urinary outlet.
3. What is the reason for reptiles and amphibians sharing similar characteristics?
The common physiological and anatomical features about reptiles and amphibians arise from the phylum and subphylum shared by them. Nevertheless, before present taxonomy was put in place, reptile and amphibians belonged to the same group.
i. (b) Amniotic
ii. (a) Order Anura