Diversity of the animal kingdom

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DRKS 111 E



Study guide compiled by:

Prof PD Theron & Prof GC Loots

Translated 2007.

* Page layout by Elsabe Strydom, graphikos.

Printing arrangements and distribution by Department Logistics (Distribution Centre).

Printed by The Platinum Press (018) 299 4226.

Copyright  2010 edition. Date of revision 2010.

North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.


Welcome/contact details vi

Rationale vi

How to study vi

Prerequisites vii

Study material vii

Participation mark vii

Module plan vii

Action words viii

Assessment xi

Module outcomes xi

Icons xii

Work programme xii

Warning against plagiarism xiii

1 Architectural pattern of an animal 1

1.1 Hierarchical organisation of animal complexity 3

1.2 Animal body plans 5

1.3 Components of metazoan bodies 7

1.4 Complexity and body size 9

2 Taxonomy and phylogeny of animals 11

2.1 History and development of taxonomy and classification 13

2.2 Species concepts 15

2.3 Taxonomic characteristics and phylogenetic reconstruction 17

2.4 Taxonomic theories 19

2.5 Classification of major divisions of life (kingdoms) and subdivisions of the animal kingdom 21

3 Unicellular Eukaryotes (Protozoan groups) 23

3.1 Position in relation to the animal kingdom and characteristics 25

3.2 Form and function of the protozoan groups 27

3.3 The flagellum-bearing phyla 29

3.4 Phylum ciliophora 31

3.5 Phylum apicomplexa 33

3.6 The amebe-likes (Sarcodina) 35

3.7 Phylogeny and adaptive diversification 37

4 Multicellular Eukarotes: Phylum Porifera (Sponges) 39

4.1 The origin of multicellular animals (Metazoa) 41

4.2 Position in the animal kingdom and distinguishing characteristics 42

4.3 Form and function 44

4.4 Classes Calcispongiae, Hyalospongiae and Demospongiae 46

4.5 Phylogeny and adaptive diversification 47

5 Radiate animals (Cnidaria) 49

5.1 Position in the animal kingdom and distinguishing characteristics 51

5.2 Form and function 53

5.3 Class Hydrozoa 55

5.4 Class Scyphozoa 57

5.5 Class Anthozoa 58

5.6 Phylogeny and adaptive diversification 60

6 Platyhelminthes (flatworms) 61

6.1 Position in the animal kingdom, and distinguishing characteristics 63

6.2 Form and function 65

6.3 Class Turbellaria 66

6.4 Class Trematoda 67

6.5 Class Cestoda 69

6.6 Phylogeny and adaptive diversification of the platyhelminthes 71

7 Nematoda
(roundworms) 73

7.1 Position in the animal kingdom and diagnostic characteristics 75

7.2 Form and function 77

7.3 Parasitic nematodes 79

7.4 Phylogeny and adaptive diversification 81

8 Mollusca
(snails, snail-related animals) (Coelomates) 83

8.1 Position in the animal kingdom and distinguishing characteristics 85

8.2 Form and function 87

8.3 Class Polyplacophora 89

8.4 Class Gastropoda 90

8.5 Class Bivalvia 92

8.6 Class Cephalopoda 93

8.7 Phylogeny and adaptive diversification 95

9 Annelida
(= segmented worms) and allied taxa 97

9.1 Evolutionary value of, respectively, a fluid-filled coelom cavity and metamerism, position in the animal kingdom and distinguishing characteristics 99

9.2 Form and function 101

9.3 Class Polychaeta 103

9.4 Class Oligochaeta 105

9.5 Class Hirudinea 107

9.6 Phylogeny and adaptive diversification 109

Welcome/contact details

On behalf of the subject group Zoology we would like to welcome you to this module and we trust that you will enjoy the work and that you will be able to discuss the lower Invertebrata (lower invertebrate animals) with insight at the end of this module. The work might sometimes be difficult, but regard it as a challenge and an adventure to learn more about the lower invertebrate animals. Remember, you are developing academically. We would like to support and guide you, but you have to let us know if you need help!


Office number

Telephone number


  • The systematics and classification of animals form the foundation for all further studies in Zoology. A sound knowledge of these aspects will provide the learner with a good basis for lifelong learning.

  • It also enables the learner to identify and understand the relationships between the different phyla.

  • Some of the most important parasites that invade people, animals and plants fall under the lower invertebrates and a sound knowledge of these groups will enable you to apply your knowledge in practical and entrepreneurial ways.

  • Skills such as the optimal use of the various microscopes, the making of accurate and correctly labelled drawings, the compiling of tables and the use of dichotomous identification keys will be acquired.

  • Research in Zoology and, more specifically, in the role of Zoology in Environmental Sciences, cannot be conducted in a meaningful way if the learner is unable to identify and classify the organisms correctly. All further studies in Zoology are based on the three modules in systematics studied in the first year, of which this is the first one.

How to study

In Zoology, as in all other subjects in Biology, real examples are used, which are illustrated in the textbooks by way of two- and three-dimensional drawings and photographs. As a young child, you were taught to classify inanimate objects by making associations. Anybody can conjure up a mental picture when the concepts “table” or “chair” are mentioned. The same principle applies in Zoology. When you start studying, begin by memorising the organism or group as a whole. When you are able to invoke a mental picture of an organism upon hearing or seeing its name, you are ready for the next step, which is to connect substructures or organ systems to this image. This is followed by linking form and function to the organ systems. This way of learning eliminates the often meaningless memorisation of endless pages of text.

When you have learnt the right and effective way of studying, you will be able to apply it profitably in your preparation for the contact sessions. It will also enable me as lecturer to devote the contact sessions mainly to the explanation of difficult concepts, etc. For this module you will have two theoretical contact sessions per week as well as a three-hour practical session every two weeks during the first semester.


As for admission to the Faculty of Life Sciences. Learners who did not have Biology as a subject at school will also be admitted but they should realise that they will have to make up leeway!

Study material

  1. Hickman, C.P., Roberts, Keen, S.L., L.S., Larson, A., l’Anson, H. & Eisenhour, D.J. 2008. Integrated Principles of Zoology. 14th ed. McGraw Hill. (hereafter referred to as Hickman)

  2. Theron, P.D. and Loots, G.C. 2009. Practical workbook for Invertebrates. (hereafter referred to as Theron)

Participation mark

Continuous evaluation tests = 33.4%

Semester tests = 33.3%

Practical mark = 33.3%

Participation mark : Exam mark = 1 : 1

Module plan

Study unit 1

Hickman, Chapter 9

Design patterns of animals/architecture

Study unit 2

Hickman, Chapter 10

Taxonomy and phylogeny of animals

Study unit 3

Hickman, Chapter 11

Protozoan groups/single-celled Eukaryotes

Study unit 4

Hickman, Chapter 12

Multicellular Eukaryotes / Phylum Porifera


Study unit 5

Hickman, Chapter 13

Phylum Cnidaria/radiate animals

Study unit 6

Hickman, Chapter 14

Acoelomate bilateral animals

Phylum Platyhelminthes/flatworms

Study unit 7

Hickman, Chapter 9, 15 and 18

Pseudocoelomate animals (Ecdysozoa)

Phylum Nematoda/roundworms

Study unit 8

Hickman, Chapter 16

Phylum Mollusca/snails/snail-like animals


Action words

Before you answer a question in an assignment, test or exam, you should make sure that you know what is expected of you. The following is a list of action words you may encounter. Familiarise yourself with the exact meaning of each action word as these action words will be used extensively during assessments and a sound working knowledge of these words will eliminate misunderstandings between lecturer and learner.

  • Analyse

Divide in parts or elements and discuss each in detail.

  • Determine

Discover by making use of applicable knowledge or methods.

  • Calculate

Use applicable equations and laws to obtain a quantitative answer.

  • Describe

List the characteristics/facts in a logical and structured way.

  • Discuss

Discuss by investigating different aspects and following a critical approach.

  • Define

Give a brief and precise description.

  • Evaluate

Assess something or give your opinion in terms of specific standards.

  • Give

Supply the facts only without discussing them.

  • Identify

Determine the name of an organism with reference to the following categories (and their subcategories, where applicable): subkingdom, phylum, subphylum, class, order, genus and species.

  • Comment

Give a more personal perspective on a matter.

  • Criticise

Highlight the good and bad characteristics and give your opinion, taking into account all the relevant facts.

  • Name

Give names, characteristics or facts.

  • Distinguish

Indicate the differences that clearly establish the distinction between the aspects concerned.

  • Examine

Investigate and critically discuss in terms of clearly defined criteria and guidelines.

  • Summarise

Provide the essential core aspects of a matter.

  • Overview

Present the data in a succinct, logical and systematic way.

  • Explain

Make sure that the reader will acquire a good understanding of the issue at hand when he/she has read your answer. Make use of illustrations, descriptions or logical presentation of the facts.

  • Compare

Indicate the similarities and differences between statements, ideas, organisms, taxa, etc.

  • Show

Present a statement logically by way of argument.


  1. Continuous formative assessments in the form of short tests every second week

  2. Semester tests

  3. Short tests after each practical session

  4. One practical examination of three hours

  5. The practical mark will be calculated as follows:

  • 10% – average mark for the short tests taken at the end of each practical session

  • 90% – practical examination

Module outcomes

By the end of this module you should have the knowledge and insight to:

  • communicate about the different aspects of form and function of animals in general and of lower invertebrates in particular. It would involve being able to classify these animals and indicate relationships.

  • recognise examples of lower invertebrates and classify them in the framework of phyla, classes, orders, families, genera and species.

  • access existing/additional knowledge regarding lower invertebrates with ease.

  • demonstrate relationships between groups of lower invertebrates/taxa.

  • highlight the economical importance of animals as a source of food, as parasites of humans, animals and plants, or as biological or mechanical carriers of pathogens.

  • demonstrate your skills in respect of the use of microscopes, dichotomous keys and the accessing of sources.


Study the following list of icons thoroughly as it will give you a clear indication of what will be required of you for each section of the work.

Take your answers with you to the contact session/group meeting for discussion.

List of concepts with/without explanations

Study the following section/explanation/discussionattentively.

Prepare yourself for participation regarding this subject during the contact session/group meeting. This is a good example of an exam question.

Study the material indicated in the textbook, article, etc.



Preparation for the contact sessions/group meetings

Estimated study time

Microscopic examination/practical session/practical work

Obtain Internet access and do the assignment.

Work programme

  1. Continuous formative assessment: Every second Friday a test will be taken on the work done in the preceding two weeks. Duration: ± 15 minutes. Feedback will be given as soon as possible afterwards.

  2. Ten-minute tests will be taken at the end of each practical session; feedback will be given at the beginning of the next practical session.

3. Date of semester test:

4. Date of practical examination/test:

5. Date of examination:

Warning against plagiarism


Copying of text from other learners or from other sources (for instance the study guide, prescribed material or directly from the internet) is not allowed – only brief quotations are allowed and then only if indicated as such.

You should reformulate existing text and use your own words to explain what you have read. It is not acceptable to retype existing text and just acknowledge the source in a footnote – you should be able to relate the idea or concept, without repeating the original author to the letter.

The aim of the assignments is not the reproduction of existing material, but to ascertain whether you have the ability to integrate existing texts, add your own interpretation and/or critique of the texts and offer a creative solution to existing problems.

Be warned: students who submit copied text will obtain a mark of zero for the assignment and disciplinary steps may be taken by the Faculty and/or University. It is also unacceptable to do somebody else’s work, to lend your work to them or to make your work available to them to copy – be careful and do not make your work available to anyone!

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