Reptiles belong to the class Reptilia under subphylum Vertebrata of phylum Chordata. The representatives of modern reptiles include turtles and tortoises, crocodiles and aligators, snakes, lizards, amphisbaenians and, tuataras. The science which deals with study of modern amphibians and reptiles is collectively called herpetology.
The body size ranges from 17 mm (0.7 inches) to 6 m (19.7 ft) in length. In this case, a tiny gecko (Sphaerodactylus ariasae) can grow up to 17 mm (0.7 in) in length while the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) can reach up to 6 m (19.7 ft) in length with over 1,000 kg in weight.
Generally, reptiles are the cold-blooded vertebrate animals which are unable to maintain a definite body temperature. Usually, the body temperature varies with the outside temperature. They have a low metabolic rate and therefore, produce less heat than a bird or mammal. They have evolved from amphibians and in turn, gave rise to the birds and mammals. As a group the reptiles can be separated from the amphibians by their dry cornified scaly skin and from the birds by the absence of feathers and from the mammals by the absence of hairs or furs.
Reptiles are the first group among the vertebrates adapted for life in dry places on land. They have dry horny skin and scales which resist loss of moisture from the body and facilitate living on rough surfaces. Most reptile species live in tropical and subtropical regions and their numbers decline towards the poles and high attitudes. They occupy a wide verity of habitats; some live in the tropics, some in swamps, rivers, estuaries or along the seacoasts.
The reptiles originated during the Carboniferous period, some 300 to 260 MYA and flourished during the Permian period. During the Mesozoic Era, popularly known as the Age of Reptiles (Triassic to upper Cretaceous), they were the dominant vertebrates. During this time, the dinosaurs flourished and some of them far exceeding elephants in length and weight and were greatly diversified as to structure and habits. During Permian, reptiles became numerous as to number of species and began to radiate in both structure and mode of life. By the end of Triassic period, virtually all the major groups of reptiles had appeared and during the Jurassic and Cretaceous these attained a climax as to number of species and individuals and also in diversity of form and manner of life. Then the end of the Cretaceous, the reptiles started to decline and most of the species disappeared and only 4 of the 16 orders survived.
The living or modern reptiles are mostly small and inconspicuous. Majority of them appeared during the Tertiary Period, some 70 MYA. At present the number of living reptile species is over 8700 included under the following four orders:
Examples: Pig-nosed turtle (Carettochelys insculpta)
Examples: Alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), etc.
Examples: Central American river turtle (Dermatemys mawii)
Examples: Pond or water turtles, Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
Examples: Mud or musk turtles, Common musk turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), Tabasco mud turtle (Kinosternon acutum), Yellow mud turtle (Kinosternon flavescens), etc.
Examples: Big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum)
Examples: Austro-American sideneck turtles, Common snakeneck turtle (Chelodina longicollis)
Examples: Afro-American sideneck turtles, African helmeted turtle (Pelomedusa subrufa)
Examples: Madagascar big-headed turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis)
Examples: Tortoise, Aldabra giant tortoise (Geochelone gigantea)
Examples: Asian river, leaf, roofed, Asian box turtles or Malayan box turtle (Cuora amboinensis)
Examples: Softshell turtles/Spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera)
Examples: Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Flatback sea turtle (Natator depressus), Olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta).
Examples: Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Example: Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus)
The order Squamata includes the following thirteen families:
Examples: Laungwala long-headed lizard or Rajasthan toad-headed lizard (Bufoniceps laungwalaensis), Ground agama (Agama aculeata), Southern rock agama(Agama atra),etc.
Examples: Aaron Bauer's house gecko (Hemidactylus aaronbaueri), Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko), Andaman Islands day gecko (Phelsuma andamanense), Mourning gecko or common smooth-scaled gecko(Lepidodactylus lugubris), Narrow-tailed four-clawed gecko (Gehyra angusticaudata),etc.
(Wall lizards, Rock lizards, and their relatives)
Examples: Atlantic Lizard (Gallotia atlantica), Spanish algyroides, Spanish keeled lizard (Algyroides marchi), Greek rock lizard (Hellenolacerta graeca), Maltese wall lizard (Podarcis filfolensis), etc.
Examples: Inland snake-eyed skink (Cryptoblepharus australis), Noble snake-eyed skink (Cryptoblepharus exochus), Dark-sided emoia, dark-sided skink, dateline emoia (Emoia adspersa), Red-throated cool-skink, red-throated skink (Acritoscincus platynota), Kinghorn's snake-eyed skink (Austroablepharus kinghorni), Guinea lidless skink (Panaspis africanus), Alpine bog skink ( Pseudemoia cryodroma), etc.
Examples: Common slowworm (Anguis fragilis), Peloponnese slowworm (Anguis cephallonica), Hainan glass lizard (Dopasia hainanensis), Wegner's glass lizard (Dopasia wegneri), Slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus), etc.
Examples: Savannah monitor (Varanus exanthematicus), Desert monitor (Varanus griseus), Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), Peach throat monitor (Varanus jobiensis), Water monitor (Varanus salvator), Emerald tree monitor (Varanus prasinus), Crocodile monitor (Varanus salvadorii), Lace monitor (Varanus varius), etc.
Examples: Beaked worm snake, beaked blind snake, or beak-nosed worm snake(Grypotyphlops acutu), Brahminy blind snak (Indotyphlops braminus), Long-tailed blindsnakes, long-tailed blind snakes, Arboreal blind snake (Ramphotyphlops angusticeps), Christmas Island blind snake (Ramphotyphlops exocoeti), etc.
Examples: Arafura File Snake (Acrochordus arafurae), Little wart snake (Acrochordus granulatus), Elephant trunk snake, Javan file snake(Acrochordus javanicus), etc.
Examples: Amazon Basin emerald tree boa (Corallus annulatus), Rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria), Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus), Cuban boa(Chilabothrus angulifer), etc.
Examples: Graham's crayfish snake (Regina grahamii), Queen snake( Regina septemvittata), Dary's burrowing snake (Adelphicos daryi), Black-collared snake (Drepanoides anomalus), Banded cat-eyed snake(Leptodeira annulata),etc.
Examples: South Andaman krait (Bungarus andamanensis), Indian cobra, spectacled cobra (Naja naja), king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), Goldie's tree cobra (Pseudohaje goldii), Rough-scaled snake (Tropidechis carinatus), Lake Cronin snake (Paroplocephalus atriceps), etc.
Examples: Horned sea snake, Peron's sea snake, and the spiny-headed seasnake (Hydrophis peronii), Short-nosed sea snake (Aipysurus apraefrontalis), Tokes's sea snake (Hydrophis stokesii), Turtle-headed sea snake or egg-eating sea snake(Emydocephalus annulatus), Beaked sea snake, Hook-nosed sea snake, Common sea snake (Enhydrina schistosa), Grey's mudsnake, Mangrove seasnake (Ephalophis greyae), Bighead sea snake, Annandale's sea snake (Hydrophis annandalei), etc.
Examples: Gloyd's cantil, Gloyd's moccasin southern cantil (Agkistrodon howardgloydi), Central American jumping pit viper (Atropoides mexicanus), Common lancehead (Bothrops atrox), Chasen's mountain pit viper (Garthius chaseni), Sri Lankan hump-nosed viper (Hypnale nepa), etc.
The order Crocodylia includes the following three families:
Examples: Mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus johnsoni), Borneo crocodile (Crocodylus raninus), Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer), Siamese crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis), Dwarf crocodile (Osteolaemus tetraspis), Central African slender-snouted crocodile (Mecistops leptorhynchus), etc.
Examples: Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), False gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii), etc.
Examples: American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis), Black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), Yacare caiman (Caiman yacare), Smooth-fronted caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus), etc.
Most of the reptiles, particularly the snakes and lizards are beneficial. Reptiles play as an important part of the food webs in most ecosystems. They constitute one of the most important biological control agents through feeding on harmful rodents and insects. They also prevent overpopulation and provide food for hungry predators. Snakes are major predators of rodents. Some herbivorous reptile species play a key role for the dispersion of seed and also act as pollinators. Besides these, many people regularly harvest the turtles, lizards, snakes, and crocodiles as food for local consumption in many countries. Some snakes, however, prey on eggs of game and other birds in their breeding seasons. Skin of crocodiles and some snakes are used for fancy leather to make vanity bags, shoes, and other leather goods. At present, many species have gone to extinct due to over exploitation and various illegal human activities. The absence of them allows agricultural pest populations to explode. Some conservation measures should be taken to protect the valuable reptile species from their extinction near the future.
The class Amphibia belongs to the subphylum Vertebrata of phylum chordata. All the representatives of Clssa Amphibia are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrate animals which inhabit a wide variety of habitats including terrestrial, arboreal, fossorial, or freshwater aquatic ecosystems. The name amphibian is derived from Greek word "amphibious" which means “living a double life”. Because some species are permanent land dwellers, while other species show an entirely aquatic mode of life. There are about 8100 known living amphibians, of which nearly 90% are frogs. Amphibians first appeared about 340 MYA (million Years Ago) ago during the Middle Mississippian Epoch of the Paleozoic Era.
The representatives of modern amphibians are frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and caecilians, show several unique characteristic features. They have a wet skin and depend greatly on cutaneous as a secondary respiration but some small terrestrial salamanders and frogs do not have lungs, entirely depend on their skin for their respiration. They also contain green rod in their retina to differentiate colors, two-part teeth and a dual-channeled hearing system.
Paedophryne amauensis is a species of frog from New Guinea which grows up to only 7.7 mm in length while the largest living amphibian is the South China giant salamander (Andrias sligoi) reaching a length of 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in). The science which deals with the study of amphibians is called batrachology.
Gladwyn Kingsley Nobel (1954), described the classification of Amphibia in his book “The Biology of Amphibia”. He classified the Class Amphibia into two sub-classes, namely Stegocephalia and Lissamphibia, of which Stegocephalia includes all extinct members and other subclass Lissamphibia includes the living members.
[Gr. Stegos=cover+ kephale=head]
(Gr. Labyrinthos=maize +odontos=teeth)
Examples: Eogyrinus attheyi, Loxomma, Palaeogyrinus, etc.
Examples: Eryops, Cacops
[Gr. Phylon=leaf +spondylos=vertebrae]
Examples: Branchiosaurus salamandroides
[Gr. Lepos=circular+ spondylos=vertebrae]
[Gr. Gumnos=naked+ophioneos=snake /Apoda(Gr. A=none+podos=foot]
Examples: Ichthyophis glutinosus, Typhlonectes compressicauda, Uraeotyphlus oommeni, etc.
Examples: Caecilia abitaguae, Caecilia albiventris, Oscaecilia bassleri, Oscaecilia elongate,etc.
Examples: Chthonerpeton arii, Chthonerpeton braestrupi, Nectocaecilia petersii, Typhlonectes natans, etc.
Examples: Ichthyophis acuminatus, Ichthyophis alfredi, Uraeotyphlus gansi, Uraeotyphlus interruptus, etc.
[L. cauda=tail) / Urodela (Gr. Oura=tail+delos=visible]
Examples: Hynobius abei, Hynobius abuensis, Afghanodon mustersi, Batrachuperus karlschmidti, etc.
Examples: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, Andrias scheuchzeri, Chunerpeton tianyiensis, etc.
Examples: Ambystoma tigrinum, Ambystoma amblycephalum, Ambystoma taylori, etc.
Examples: Calotriton arnoldi, Cynops chenggongensis, Chioglossa lusitanica, Salamandrina terdigitata, etc.
Examples: Three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma tridactylum), Two-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma means)One-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma pholeter), etc.
Examples: Peter's climbing salamander (Bolitoglossa), Splay-foot salamanders (Chiropterotriton), Hidden salamanders(Cryptotriton), etc.
Examples: Alabama waterdog (Necturus alabamensis), Gulf Coast waterdog (Necturus beyeri), Neuse River waterdog (Necturus lewisi),etc.
Examples: Habrosaurus dilatus, H. prodilatus, Noterpeton bolivianum, Siren simpsoni, etc.
[L. salere =to jump]
Examples: Ascaphus montanus, Ascaphus truei , etc.
Examples: Archey's frog (Leiopelma archeyi ), Hamilton's frog (Leiopelma hamiltoni), Hochstetter's frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri), etc.
Examples: Alytes cisternasii , Alytes dickhilleni, Discoglossus galganoi , Latonia nigrivente, etc.
Examples: Hymenochirus boettgeri, Pipa arrabali, Xenopus allofraseri
Examples: Eopelobates anthracinus, Eopelobates bayeri, Pelobates balcanicus, Pelobates varaldii, etc.
Examples: Northern sandhill frog (Arenophryne rotunda), Bilingual frog (Crinia bilingua), Red-crowned toadlet (Pseudophryne australis), etc.
Examples: Bufoides meghalayanus, Duttaphrynus melanostictus, Barbarophryne brongersmai, etc.
Examples: Brachycephalus actaeus, Brachycephalus alipioi , Ischnocnema abdita, Ischnocnema epipeda, etc.
Examples: Hyla arborea, Hyloscirtus albopunctulatus, Argenteohyla siemersi
Examples: Rana amurensis, Hoplobatrachus tigerinus, Batrachylodes elegans, Amietia amieti, etc.
Examples: Liuixalus calcarius, Nyctixalus margaritifer, Theloderma andersoni, Rhacophorus lateralis, etc.
Examples: Balebreviceps hillmani, Breviceps acutirostris, Callulina dawida , etc.
Difference between Amphibia and Reptilia are stated in the following table:
Amphibians are cold-blooded animals which live on land or in water.
Reptiles are also cold-blooded animals. Some live on land and some other live on water.
The body is covered with smooth, moist and highly porous skin with rich in glands.
The body is covered with dry and hard skin with no glands.
The body does not contain any scales.
Bony epidernal scales covers the body.
Skull is articulated with the atlas by two occiptal condyles.
Skull is attached with single median occipital condyle.
They have three chambered heart
with two auricles and one ventricle.
Reptiles also have a three-chambered heart, but their ventricle is further divided through a septum.
Generally, fertilization is external.
Fertilization is internal.
They lay their eggs in water which are covered with gel.
Reptiles lay their eggs on land which have a hard protective covering.
Foot is webbed which help them in swimming and jumping.
Most of them have four limbs which help them in swimming and, running but snakes do not have limbs and they crawl.
They perform respiration through gills or from the lungs.
Reptiles perform respiration only through lungs.
They are oviparous and they lay eggs covered with gel.
Some reptiles are oviparous, while some are viviparous. In this case, if they lay eggs which are covered with a hard protective covering.
Some amphibians such as a tadpole larvae have lateral line sensory organ which sense water pressure changes to locate prey.
Some reptiles have additional sense organ, known as vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ which is located on the roof of the mouth.
Examples: Toads, frogs salamanders, and newts, etc.
Examples: Crocodiles, Alligators, gavials, lizards, snakes, tortoises, turtles, etc.
The name “amphibian” is derived from the Greek word amphibios which means “living a dual life”. There are about 8100 known living amphibians, which play an important role in ecosystem to maintain many food chains. They are herbivorous to omnivorous and eat various animals as food items. They also act as the best biological pest controllers. Besides these, they are the good food source of humans. At present, the population of amphibians are decreasing worldwide due to various activities like habitat destruction, climate change, chemical contamination, pollution and diseases, physical environment changes, etc. To protect them, we should take proper conservation measures from their extinction near the future.
Aves is a class of vertebrates that comprises the birds' species. Birds are bipedal, feathered, and endothermic egg-laying animals. They are found worldwide, and their size ranges from 5 cm (bee hummingbird) to 2.75 m (ostrich). Among the tetrapod classes, birds constitute the largest number of species. There are about 10,000 living modern bird species in the world that occupy nearly all habitats on Earth.
[Gk. Archios = ancient + ornithos = bird]
Examples: Archaeopteryx lithographica, Archaeornis siemensi.
All the modern birds belong to the subclass Neornithes. This subclass contains about 10,000 known living birds' species throughout the world. The representatives of this subclass first appeared in the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic Era. This subclass also includes a few extinct birds.
[Gk. Odontos = teeth + gnathos = jaw]
Examples: Parahesperornis, Hesperornis, Enaliornis, Baptornis, Neogaeornis, and Potamornis.
Examples: Ichthyornis, Apatornis
[Gk. Struthio = Ostrich + form]
Example: Common ostrich, or simply ostrich (Struthio camelus)
[Gk. Rhea = mother of Zeus + form]
Examples: Rhea americana, Pteronemia pennata.
Examples: Dromaeus novaehollandiae (Emu), Southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius).
Examples: Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis), North Island Brown Kiwi (Apterix mantelli), Great Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx haastii), Okarito Kiwi (Apterix rowi). Little Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii), etc.
Examples: Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae
Examples: Aepyornis maximus, A. hildebrandti, A. medius, A. gracilis, Mullerornis agilis, M. rudis, M. betsilei, etc....
Examples: Barred tinamou (Crypturellus casiquiare), Bartlett's tinamou ( Crypturellus bartletti).
They are flightless aquatic birds. Their forelimbs are modified into paddles, which are used for both swimming and flight. This superorder includes only one order.
[Gk. Spheniscus = wedge + form]
Examples: Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), Crested penguin (Eudyptes calauina), Little penguin (Eudyptula minor), Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus), etc.
The word "Nognathe" is derived from Greek 'neo' meaning new and 'gnathos' meaning jaw. This superorder includes all modern living birds with nearly 10,000 species.
Examples: Gavia arctica and G. stellata
Examples: Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), Western grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis), Pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), etc.
Examples: Leach's storm petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa), Audubon's shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri), common diving petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix), slender-billed prion (Pachyptila belcheri), etc.
[Gr. Pelikan = Pelican + form]
Examples: Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus), Red-footed Booby (Sula sula), Snakebird (Anhinga anhinga), Red-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda), etc.
[L. Ciconia = stork + form]
Examples: Great blue heron (Ardea herodias), Snowy egret (Egretta thula), Cattle egret(Bubulcus ibis), Shoebill (Balaeniceps rexi), Marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus), Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria), White Ibis(Eudocimus albus), Black vulture (Coragyps atratus), California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), Turkey vulture(Cathartes aura), etc.
[L. Anser = goose + form]
Examples: The mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Coscoroba swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) , Canada geese (Branta canadensis) , Common eider (Somateria mollissima), , Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata), Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri), White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala),etc.
[L. Falco = falcon + form]
Examples: Peregrine falcon(Falco peregrines), Fox Kestrel (Falco alopex), Merlin (Falco columbarius),Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), Laughing falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans), Lined forest falcon (Micrastur gilvicollis), Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway), Spot-winged falconet (Spiziapteryx circumcincta), Pygmy falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus).
[L. Callus = Cock + form]
Examples: Great Curassow (Crax rubra), Rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta), Rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), Common Quail (Cotumix cotumix), Common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) , Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), etc.
Examples: Common crane (Grus grus), Water rail (Rallus aquaticus), Eurasian or common coot (Fulica atra), Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Kagu or cagou (Rhynochetos jubatus) , Common Buttonquail(Turnix sylvaticus), etc.
[L. Charadrius = Genus of Plovers + form]
Examples: Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), Wattled jacana( Jacana jacana), Australian Painted-snipe (Rostratula australis), Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), Northern lapwings (Vanellus vanellus), Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) , Collared pratincole (Glareola pratincola), Western gulls (Larus occidentalis) , Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica), etc.
[L. Columbia = a dove + form]
Examples: Pin-tailed sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata), Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto), Rock pigeons (Columba livia), Little green pigeon (Treron olax), Tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris), etc.
[L. Psittacus = Parrot + form]
Examples: Blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna), Blue-eyed cockatoo (Cacatua ophthalmica), Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) , Yellow-collared lovebird(Agapornis personatus), Rose-ringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), Thick-billed parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha), etc.
[L. Cuculus = Cuckoo + form]
Examples: Yellow-billed Cuckoo(Coccyzus americanus), Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana), Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), Goliath Coucal (Centropus goliath), Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus), Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira), Greater Anis(Crotophaga major), etc.
[L. Strix = Screech owl + form]
Examples: Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo), Greater sooty owl(Tyto tenebricosa), Long-eared owl (Asio otus), Northern Pygmy Owl (Claucidium Californicum) , Burrowing Owl (Speotyto cunicularia), Lesser horned owl (Bubo magellanicus), etc.
[L. Caprimulgus = goat sucker + form]
Examples: Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides), Great potoo (Nyctibius grandis), Common Nighthawks (Chordeiles minor), European nightjar or common nightjar(Caprimulgus europaeus), Common pauraque (Nyctidromus albicollis), etc.
Examples: Amethyst Woodstar(Calliphlox amethystine), Andean Emerald ( Agyrtria franciae), Black Inca (Coeligena prunellei). Copper-Tailed Hummingbird (Saucerottia cupreicauda), Magnificent hummingbird ( Eugenes fulgens). Jamaican Mango( Anthracothorax mango), Spot-fronted swift (Cypseloides cherriei), Sooty swift (Cypseloides fumigates), Rotschild's swift (Cypseloides rothschildi), Indian swiftlet(Aerodramus unicolor), etc.
[Gk. Colius = Genus of the mouse bird + form]
Examples: Bar-breasted mousebirds(Colius striatus), Chestnut-backed mousebird (Colius castanotus), White-headed mousebird (Colius leucocephalus), White-backed mousebird (Colius colius), Blue-naped mousebird (Urocolius macrourus), Red-faced mousebird (Urocolius indicus).
[Gk. Trogon = gnawing + form]
Examples: Narina trogon (Apaloderma narina), Red-naped trogon (Harpactes kasumba), Cuban trogon or tocororo (Priotelus temnurus), Mountain trogon (Trogon mexicanus), Pavonine quetzal (Pharomachrus pavoninus), and Resplendent Quetzal(Pharomachrus mocinno), etc.
[L. Corax = raven + form]
Examples: Common kingfisher or Halcyon (Alcedo atthis), African pygmy kingfisher (Ispidina picta), Laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae), Amazon kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) , Blue-headed bee-eater(Merops muelleri), Lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) , Eurasian hoopoe (Upupa epops), Great hornbill (Buceros bicornis), Oriental pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris), etc.
[L. Picus = a Woodpecker + form]
Examples: Red-collared Woodpecker (Picus rabieri), Red-naped sapsucker (Sphyrapicus nuchalis), Toco toucan or common toucan (Ramphastos toco), Pied Puffbird (Notharcus tectus), Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii), etc.
[L. Passer = a spar-J row + form]
Examples: Scissor-tailed flycatcher (Muscivora forficate), Rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris), Sharpbill (Oxyruncus cristatus), Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae), Red-whiskered bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus), Loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus), Palmchat (Dulus dominicus), House crow (Corvus splendens), Common starling (Sturnus vulgaris), House sparrow (Passer domesticus), Common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), Fire-tailed sunbird (Aethopyga ignicauda), etc.
Birds belong to subphylum Vertebrata under phylum Chordata. There are more than 10,000 living birds species under the class Aves, constituting the importance of members of many ecosystems. They make the integral parts of the food web and food chains. Many birds take their food from plants while others eat insects, earthworms, rodents, and other small vertebrates. Birds also offer food for humans by providing eggs and meat. Many birds play an essential role in cross-pollination and help in plant reproduction. At present, many birds’ species become endangered due to illegal human activities. Therefore, we should take proper conservation measures to protect them from their extinction near the future.
Ecological balance is maintained when the environmental factors remain in a state of balance. If one or more of these factors are disturbed to any extent, then they may be recovered soon. But gross natural calamities like flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, etc. destroy the ecological balance considerably and environmental organisms are liable to destruction. The animals and birds are the ornaments of nature, the beauty of the jungle. With the advancement of civilization, industrialization moves in rapid space. This has resulted in the feeling of the large trees, cleaning the forests.
Wildlife means life in any form (plant or animal) existing in the natural surrounding which provides recreational and economic benefits to man. All undomesticated or untamed animals living in their own natural habitats or in any habitat where they have been adapted are known as wildlife animals.
The proper utilization, preservation, and management of the natural resources of the earth are known as conservation. According to Eugene Pleasants Odum (1972), conservation can be defined as a process which is concerned with the use, preservation, and proper management of the natural resources of the earth and their protection from destructive influences, misuse, decay, fire or waste.
Plants and animals offer huge value to human being and it must be saved and protected for future generations to gather experience their presence and value. For the following purposes, we should conserve wild animals.
Medicinal purposes: Wild species (plants and animals) provides useful medications. Today, most of our life-threatening medicines are made from the natural compounds using diverse wild species. These wild species save our lives and contribute to a prospering medicine industry.
Ecological purposes: Foundation of a healthy ecosystem depends on biodiversity. Destruction of wild species makes the ecosystem imbalance. In this case, we should preserve the wildlife to make a balanced ecosystem.
Commercial purposes: Various wild species play a major role and contribute to national and international economics. Today, valuable these wild species are declined due to various human activities such as destruction of habitat, pollution, etc. This degradation of wildlife may impact on the economy; hence, our economy faces a critical problem. So, for the betterment of commercial importance; we should save wild animals and plants.
Aesthetic/recreational purposes: Wildlife species are an invaluable and irreplaceable resource and they provide spiritual, recreational, quality of life values. They also boost up the national economy and enhance the different country`s job-intensive tourism industry. To enhance our quality of life and future generations healthy, measures should be taken for the preservation of plants and animals.
Impact of wildlife may be discussed on the following three headings:
Ecological: Every organism has got its own importance in nature, however harmful it might be. In maintaining the balance in the ecosystem occurs through the extinction of any such component, the balance in the ecosystem is disturbed. This imbalance threatens the life or livelihood of other organisms. Since through the break of food-chain on one level, the other levels grow by leaps and bounds and finally, they will be destined to attack human population directly or indirectly through the damage of his crops and organisms of interest. Through the biological control, the natural balance is maintained by prey and predator chain. Hence, ruthless annihilation of wildlife surely disturbs the balance and invites disaster to human life.
Aesthetics: Human life is full of bustle and hurry, but when we stand and leisurely look to the vast nature, we feel rejuvenated. The beauty and varied richness of the jungle inhabited by colorful and varied types of wild animals gives us pleasure and satisfaction. The multi-colored birds and their songs have always been a source of inspiration to the poets and the common people. The children particularly become joyous with the sight of the large animals (and wild) of the zoo-gardens and elsewhere. The children thus, become interested in and start loving the wild animals.
Economical: Properly maintained wildlife is a source of the country`s income. We can have economically valued materials like meat, skin, feathers, horn, etc. from wild animals, there is a demand of such materials in foreign countries where we can export these materials and earn foreign exchange. In fact, we have been doing so.
Besides, the resorts of the wildlife, particularly where vanishing and rare animals are kept, are always attractive to both national and international tourists. It is an easy source of earning revenue.
Recently, habitat destruction is the major cause of wildlife extinctions. This is done by several factors-
Lots of wild animal and plants are harvested from their natural habitat and sold for the purpose of food, pets, and medicine, skin and tourist curios every year.
It also causes a reduction of wild animals. Besides, uncontrolled over=exploitation is also responsible for the depletion of varieties of animals. If you hunt wildlife for the purpose of collecting food to a large extent, it leads to wildlife extinction. Hunting of animals is done for fun, financial gain, skin, bones, horn, fur, and feathers, etc. Hunting is also done for sports purposes.
It also leads to declining in wildlife extinction on the planet. It is done for various purposes such as elephants for ivory, rhinos for their horns and tigers for their skins and bones.
It is now one of the primary cause of wildlife extinction. Many unnatural chemicals are introduced in the agricultural farm which contaminates air, soil, and seas. The residues interfere with the metabolism of animals and inhibit the growth and disrupt the whole food web and leading to the collapse of the whole of the ecosystem.
Introducing foreign or invasive species in a new place often leads to ecological imbalance. They also carry pathogens causing diseases of native animals and disrupt food web. They also disrupt the habit and habitat of native species and change the environment of the old species and make adaptation challenge and species-species conflict and they lead to the extinction of native animals.
Climate change is a natural phenomenon which leads to emit greenhouse gas. Due to climate change, there are many species have gone to extinct. Generally, climate change interrupts breeding seasons and migration patterns of many animals leading to extinction.
Pressure of over human population causes crowding out of wild species and enhances wildlife extinction.
Random utilization of natural resources will threaten our future civilization. To maintain the ecological balance we should take care to conserve the natural resources. With the advancement of civilization, more and more resources are being used which also causes depletion of wild fauna such as:
As indicated by a present report, about 58% worldwide population have been falling since 1970 and if the pattern proceeds with that decrease could achieve two-third among vertebrate animals by 2020. If not urgent steps are taken, we may lose most of our wildlife. At present with the help of IUCN, different countries of the world have formulated the following ways and means for wildlife conservation.
Conservation of nature is the prime necessity for maintaining the ecological balance of the organic components. Hence, conservation of wildlife forms is a part of it. Protection, careful exploitation and management of wildlife will save these natural resources from misuse, decay, and destructive influences.
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