Introduction to Reptiles:
Reptiles are first group of vertebrates to become completely adapted to life on land. There are 4 major groups of reptiles like: Snakes, lizards, crocodiles and turtles. Lizards and their close relatives, snakes, are leading reptiles today.
Features of Reptiles:
Name Reptile through which these animals are known, point to one of the major features of typical members of the group, their crawling method of locomotion. They are lowest vertebrates that are really terrestrial and as class they are neither well adapted for walking nor for running. The body is covered with scales that are, though, very different from those of fishes: they are evolved only from outer layers of skin, having relation with blood vessels and nerves. Whole skin is distinguished by being dry and devoid of glands. They are poikilothermic and many of them have improperly 4 chambered heart.
Reptiles have turn into independent of water because of growth of embryonic membranes. Embryo always lies in fluid-filled sac called as amnion. Allantois arises as the outgrowth from hinder part of gut and serves as receptacle for storage of embryonic urine. Part of allantois turns into closely applied to shell for respiration. Gills are absent and lungs form respiratory organs.
Lizard is the characteristic example of reptilian. They are characteristically dry-land animals, loving sun and its heat. They are extremely common reptiles many of them are 4-legged animals and are able to move very actively. They are generally rather small and slender creatures. Common garden lizard has very long tail.
Different kinds of Lizards:
Ordinary wall lizards or Geckos are prepared with vacuum -cupped toes that allow them to hunt insects along vertical walls and ceilings of rooms. The extremely exciting protective feature, have in some of the lizards, is power to break off the tail automatically. They contain strange type of joint between two of the caudal vertebrae that allows them in emergency to break off tail. Part of tail therefore sacrificed continues for some time to move about, therefore tending to divert attention of pursuing enemy and thereby providing a possibility to lizard to escape. It can develop the new tail in due course of time. The power of automatically breaking off some parts of body is known as autonomy.
Other adaptive characteristics are given below:
i) They are cold blooded animals.
ii) They have well developed tongue that can be protruted and retracted Quickly.
iii) Its jaws contain teeth of similar kind embedded in sockets.
iv) It generally contains paired fore and hind limbs each with 5 toes ending in claws.
v) It contains inner and middle ears.
vi) It contains skin which is covered with scales.
vii) It performs gaseous exchange by its lungs.
viii) Fertilization is internal. Females lay large fertilized eggs in land. Even aquatic reptiles return to land to lay eggs.
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