Snails can be found in various habitats, ranging from land, to freshwater, to the sea. Therefore, it is make sense to wonder if they are classified as vertebrates or invertebrates. To answer this question, one must first understand the differences between these two categories of animals.
Vertebrates are animals with a backbone, or spinal column, which includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. Invertebrates, on the other hand, are animals that lack a backbone, making up nearly 97 percent of all animal species. Examples of invertebrates include insects, spiders, crustaceans, jellyfish, and worms.
When it comes to snail classification, they can be considered a type of mollusk, a group that encompasses creatures like octopuses, squids, and clams. With this information in mind, it becomes clear whether these intriguing gastropods belong to the vertebrate or invertebrate category.
Vertebrates and Invertebrates
Animals are broadly classified into two main categories: vertebrates and invertebrates. Here, we will discuss the fundamental characteristics of each group to understand the classification of the snail.
Characteristics of Vertebrates
Vertebrates belong to the subphylum Vertebrata, which is a part of the phylum Chordata. They possess an internal skeleton, called an endoskeleton, and a backbone composed of a column of vertebrae. They have a highly developed brain enclosed by a skull, and their nerve cord is protected by a series of vertebrae.
Examples of vertebrates include mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
Characteristics of Invertebrates
Invertebrates can have different types of supportive structures like exoskeletons, shells, or hydrostatic skeletons, depending on the species. Some examples of invertebrates are:
- Arthropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans)
- Mollusks (clams, oysters, octopuses, snails)
- Echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers)
Snails are classified as invertebrates because they lack an internal spinal column. Instead, they have an exoskeleton in the form of a snail shell, which provides structure and protection from predators and dehydration.