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  Reptiles

Reptiles Guide

Reptile | Agamidae | Archosaurs | Avicephalans | Fictional reptiles | Lepidosaurs | Marine reptiles | Parareptiles | Pet reptiles | Turtle | License

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Reptiles
Fossil range: Carboniferous - Recent
Eastern Hermann's Tortoise
Eastern Hermann's Tortoise
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Sauropsida
Goodrich, 1916
Orders

Reptiles are tetrapods and amniotes, animals whose embryos are surrounded by an amniotic membrane. Today they are represented by four surviving orders:

Reptiles are found on every continent except for Antarctica, although their main distribution comprises the tropics and subtropics. Though all cellular metabolism produces some heat, most modern species of reptiles do not generate enough to maintain a constant body temperature and are thus referred to as "cold-blooded" or ectothermic (the Leatherback Sea Turtle is an exception). Instead, they rely on gathering and losing heat from the environment to regulate their internal temperature, e.g, by moving between sun and shade, or by preferential circulation � moving warmed blood into the body core, while pushing cool blood to the periphery. In their natural habitats, most species are adept at this, and can ususally maintain core body temperatures within a fairly narrow range, comparable to that of mammals and birds, the two surviving groups of "warm-blooded" animals. While this lack of adequate internal heating imposes costs relative to temperature regulation through behavior, it also provides a large benefit by allowing reptiles to survive on much less food than comparably-sized mammals and birds, who burn much of their food for warmth. While warm-blooded animals move faster in general, an attacking lizard, snake or crocodile moves very quickly.

Except for a few members of the Testudines, all reptiles are covered by scales.

Most reptile species are oviparous (egg-laying). Many species of squamates, however, are capable of giving live birth. This is achieved, either through ovoviviparity (egg retention), or viviparity (babies born without use of calcified eggs). Many of the viviparous species feed their fetuses through various forms of placenta analogous to those of mammals (Pianka & Vitt, 2003 pgs: 116-118). They often provide considerable initial care for their hatchlings.

by Nicolae Sfetcu, for Animal Kingdom USA

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License

Reptiles


Reptiles Guide, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License

 
 


 
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