Reptiles and amphibians are the classes of animals that came under vertebrates; further, they are separated among orders. Both the groups of animals are closely related to each other as they tend to share few similarities, which we see in both animal types. Still, despite these similarities, there are few differences in terms of their physical appearance and life cycle stages.
Reptiles originally originated from the Latin word ‘reptilia,’ which means to “crawl.” They are also evolved from ancient animals such as Dinosaurs. They possess the most common physical features or traits that are said to be found in both the animal kingdom, namely reptiles and amphibians. In earlier times, the people also say that their kingdom or reptile land are generally evolved from amphibians due to the body structure and resemblance observed in them. Overall, vertebrates were descended from the same ancestors around some rough period of 300 million years ago.
While the amphibians generally obtain from a Greek word “Amphibious,” which means ‘two lives,’ one at the earliest stage in water via the development of gills, and the other half is on land they respire through lungs. It is said that they tend to live a slight proportion of their life in water than that on land. The majority of the community from zoology said these species are the results of certain environmental factors changes that were earlier responsible for forming an animal group known as ‘Tetrapod,’ which has four limbs.
The study of these organisms (reptiles and amphibians) came under herpetology, a sub-branch of zoology found globally, mostly in tropical areas. Both reptiles and amphibians are further divided in terms of the order, for which reptiles generally have three specified orders, namely Crocodilia (crocodiles and alligator), Squamata (snake, lizard), and Testudines (tortoise, turtles). At the same time, amphibians are categorized among two major subclasses: Anura (frog) and Urodela (salamander).
Table of Content
- Definition & meaning
- Comparison table
- Characteristics and features
- Key distinction points
DEFINITION AND MEANING
These are the groups of animals that possess scales all over their body. They mostly live on the land, or in other words, we can also say they are land-living creatures. Moreover, reproduction in reptiles takes place by laying eggs on land.
According to a study, reptile land has 30% of such species, which gave birth to young ones, mostly this happens in snakes or depends upon their body temperature, e.g., boa, python gives birth to young ones.
The most remarking trait is their skin which is being covered with rough scales. Reptile’s skin is so hard and even useful in maintaining their body temperature as cold-blooded animals. Mother nature has given them hard scales skin as a gift to protect themselves from their predator like any other animal.
As we discussed above, amphibians are also coming under vertebrates; they spend most of their lifetime on land only during the primary stage they are supposed to live in water. Amphibians are likely to be the only group of animals that transfer their whole body from a marine animal to a terrestrial animal, and that’s how they can develop gills and lungs at both the phase of their life.
They are also cold blooded animals or known by the term ectothermic, and their skin is so moist, sticky, and porous as the mucous gland is present over their skin. The reproduction and fertilization process occurs externally, whereas the germination of eggs takes place within the water. The eggs covered with a jelly like material usually remain in the water until it reaches up to the adult stage, the name given to this stage is “metamorphosis”.
CHARACTERISTICS OF REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
CHARACTERISTICS OF REPTILES
Various characteristics of reptiles are as follows:
- Reptiles breathe air through their lungs their entire life, and they are cold-blooded animals with having a three-chambered heart.
- The reptile world brought us forward broad pictures of reptiles as they are oviparous and viviparous (in which the embryo develops inside the mother’s womb); they lay eggs with hard outer covering shell.
- Reptile skin has hard and dry scales and plates to protect themselves from harsh climatic and environmental conditions.
- Reptiles mainly have four limbs that enable them to walk, run, swim, and even crawl in some cases. Moreover, their teeth and claws secrete harmful toxins which prevent them from predators.
CHARACTERISTICS OF AMPHIBIANS
Following are some features of amphibians:
- Amphibians can breathe air through gills as well as lungs. They are ectothermic animals, and they also a three-chambered heart through which the respiration process takes place.
- They also lay eggs (oviparous animals) like reptilians, but their eggs have a transparent jelly-like outer layer in which the young ones develop themselves.
- Amphibian skin has thin, moist, and smooth pores or mucous glands present in its skin. They can regulate their metabolism, and the skin also produces a fatal venomous substance, which helps give them protection.
- They have short limbs and webbed feet that generally help them in almost every physical activity, from swimming to jumping.
Amphibians vs Reptiles
|BASIS OF DISTINCTION||AMPHIBIANS||REPTILES|
|Nature||Amphibians are ectothermic as they take heat from the surrounding.||Reptiles are cold-blooded animals and they are not in the state to control their body temperature from their own.|
|Skin||Amphibian skin has soft and sticky mucous gland pores that protect them from their prey.||While reptile scales are porous and hard that present over their skin which acts as a shield for them.|
|Respiration Process||They have the advantage of both the organs, namely gills and lungs, which help them breathe.||Reptiles have only one developed organ for breathing, i.e., lungs.|
|Animal Type||Amphibians are known to be aquatic as well as terrestrial animals.||Reptiles also know how to swim but water is not their primary habitat, so they are generally land animals.|
|Fertilization Process||The fertilization process in amphibians takes place externally.||And reptiles have an internal fertilization process in which an embryo grows inside the mother’s womb.|
|Limbs||Amphibians have a webbed structure like feet (hind limbs) and tiny forelimbs, enabling them to do certain chores.||Reptiles have sharp claws, both for limbs and hind limbs through which they can walk and run.|
|Mode Of Reproduction||Amphibians reproduce by laying eggs within the water with a jelly-like transparent coving on them.||Few reptiles are viviparous but most of them are oviparous as they lay eggs with a hard-shell protective layer.|
|Species Variety||There are thousands of species been discovered so far, with a rough digit of around 5200.||While in the case of reptiles it counts up to around 6600 species.|
|Heart structure||Amphibians are three-chambered heart animals.||Reptiles also possess a three-chambered heart, but crocodiles are the only reptiles that have a four-chambered heart.|
|Evolution||The evolution of amphibians is known to happen some 360 million years ago.||The discovery and study of fossils of reptiles, state that the existence of the lifetime of such animals starts around 320 million years ago.|
|List And Examples||The list of amphibians is frogs, salamanders, and toads, etc.||At the same time, the reptiles list consists of crocodiles, lizards, alligators, geckos, snakes, and turtles, etc.|
KEY POINTS OF DISTINCTION :
The major difference between amphibians and reptiles are as follows:
- Amphibians spend their primary stage of life cycle under the water. When the young ones entirely develop into adults, they came upon the land and spent the rest of their life as terrestrial animals. In contrast, reptiles are usually terrestrial animals, but few reptiles like crocodiles and turtles live in water.
- Animals from both the kingdom (reptiles and amphibians) have three-chambered hearts, but reptiles have a partial septum that divides the ventricles.
- Amphibian skin has a permeable membrane in which a mucous gland is present that releases harmful toxins. On the other hand, reptile skin has hard scales present on the back, head, and tail which is very difficult to attack by any of its predators.
- Reptiles breathes via lungs while if we talk about amphibians, then the entire respiration process in them can be done in both ways as they can breathe through lungs when on land or even by their gills too when they are in the water.
- Amphibians have well-developed pairs of webbed-like structure feet through which they can perform high and long thrust jump and that only because of the thin stretch membrane. On the contrary, reptiles also have pairs of forelimbs and hind limbs for activities like walk and run except for snakes that mainly crawl.
- Amphibians are ectothermic. So are reptiles that regulate or control their body temperature via surrounding or reptile, and amphibian habitats also depend upon environmental factors. Both of them are cold-blooded animals.
- Reptiles are generally oviparous (lay eggs on land with thick protection) but a slight amount of species count up in viviparous too. In contrast, amphibians are only oviparous as they lay eggs underwater with a transparent membrane covering.
- The fertilization process of amphibians is external, as the male releases their sperms near the eggs produced by females, and further, it results in the fusion of eggs. But that is not similar in reptiles as reptiles reproduce through internal fertilization, wherein the embryo grows inside the mother’s womb as like other animals.
In the above article, we have gathered information about reptiles and amphibians’ behavior and traits as much as possible. Above that, we also came along with reptile and amphibian habitats in nature and learned deeply about how they evolved millions of years ago.