Perissodactyla-Chiroptera-Insectivora, Biology tutorial

Eutherians: perissodactyla, chiroptera, insectivora

Order Perissodactyla (like zebras, horses, tapirs, rhinoceroses):

Members of eutherian order contain following characteristics:

  • Hooves having odd number of toes (like 1, 3)
  • Middle toe on each hoof is generally larger than its neighbor.
  • Relatively large grazers and, unlike ruminant even-toed ungulates (artiodactyls), with comparatively simple stomachs are they are hindgut fermenters, digesting plant cellulose in the intestines rather than in one or more stomachs.

Members of the order contain odd number of toes. Odd-toed ungulates include order Perissodactyla (uneven finger/toe). Middle toe on each hoof is generally larger than its neighbors. In all species, third digit is most prominent on all feet; plane of symmetry (dividing line) of foot passes by this digit; based on this, perissodactyls are said to contain mesaxonic foot. First digit (equal to thumb or big toe of humans) is lost in all species. Perissodactyls are really unguligrade, with heel, sole, and digits of foot never touching ground.

Features of Order Chiroptera (like bats)

This order is well signified by bats, which are mammals:

  • Able to flight
  • Wings derived from skin-folds that extend from fingers to body and legs.

Bat is only mammal naturally capable of true and sustained flight. The bat's wings are supported by bones of forelimbs, like those in human hand. Every wing has clawed thumb which bat uses for clinging to trees, cave walls, or buildings. Other mammals said to fly, like gliding possums, flying squirrels, and colugos, glide rather than fly, and can just glide for short distances. Bats don't flap their whole forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap spread-out digits, that are very long and covered with the thin membrane.

Features of Order Insectivora (like shrews, moles, hedgehogs)

The distinguished feature of the eutherian mammals is that:

  • They feed on insects
  • They are generally nocturnal
  • Majority are terrestrial, several burrowing in ground, though a few are arboreal and others aquatic.
  • Contain plantigrade or partly plantigrade feet i.e., they apply whole or greater portion of soles to ground when walking; and usually have 5 toes, each terminating in claw.

Name Insectivora (insect eater) refers to food habit of group as a whole. Though shrews and moles are not all severely insectivorous, insects and other small animal life comprise main dietary items of most members of group. Hedgehogs are mammals having long, pointed spines and soft, furry bellies. When in danger, they roll into ball such that their spines point in every direction. Moles are small mammals having large claws which spend most of the time underground. Moles contain polydactyl hands; each hand contains extra thumb (also called as prepollex) next to regular thumb. Moles are almost blind; they utilize their sense of touch to navigate the dark burrows. Moles are found in Australia and South Africa

Shrews are active day and night, but mainly after dark. They are active most of the time, resting for only a few minutes between bursts of activity. Shrews are common in the environment and provide sharp sound when confronted by cats, dogs, humans, etc. They are not liked by cats as they have pungent smell.

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