Difference Between Aquatic and Terrestrial Animals

Main Difference – Aquatic vs Terrestrial Animals

Aquatic and terrestrial are two classifications of animals based on the type of ecosystem they are found in. Aquatic animals are mainly found in aquatic ecosystems such as ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands. Terrestrial animals are mainly found in terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, taiga, tundra, and deserts. Aquatic and terrestrial animals mainly differ by their mode of life. The main difference between aquatic and terrestrial animals is that aquatic animals respire by lungs and they have a soft, slippery skin whereas terrestrial animals respire by gills and they have a leathery hard or spiny skin.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Aquatic Animals
      – Definition, Habitat, Adaptations, Features
2. What are Terrestrial Animals
      – Definition, Habitat, Adaptations, Features
3. What are the Similarities Between Aquatic and Terrestrial Animals
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Aquatic and Terrestrial Animals
      – Comparison of Common Features

Key Terms: Aquatic Animals, Fresh Water Habitats, Gills, Habitat, Legs, Lungs, Marine Water Habitats, Skin, Terrestrial Animals, TracheaDifference Between Aquatic and Terrestrial Animals - Comparison Summary

What are Aquatic Animals

An aquatic animal is an animal living in water throughout its lifetime. Aquatic animals can be either vertebrates or invertebrates. Aquatic animals breathe through either their skin or specialized organs called gills, which absorb oxygen from the water. Aquatic animals like fish comprise modified limbs for the locomotion in water. Aquatic animals can be found in both marine and fresh water habitats. They have several adaptations such as streamline bodies, fins, webbed feet, and air bladder.

Main Difference - Aquatic vs Terrestrial Animals

Figure 1: Sea Whale is an aquatic animal.

Examples of aquatic invertebrates are hydra, sea anemones, jellyfish, and crustaceans. Examples of the aquatic vertebrates are fish, marine mammals like seals, whales. Some are semi-aquatic marine animals; for example, sea lions live in the land but they are completely adapted to live in water. The amphibians have an aquatic larval stage and the adult animal lives in terrestrial environments.

What are Terrestrial Animals

Animals that live in the land-based habitats are referred to as terrestrial animals. Terrestrial animals can also be vertebrates and invertebrates. Terrestrial vertebrates include mammals, reptiles, and birds. The terrestrial invertebrates are insects, annelids, arthropods, and gastropods. Terrestrial vertebrates respire through lungs. Oxygen is diffused into the blood through a wet respiratory membrane. In contrast, terrestrial invertebrates comprise trachea, which carries air to the internal organs. Terrestrial animals consist of different modes of locomotion such as legs. Birds can fly in the air by using wings.

Difference Between Aquatic and Terrestrial Animals

Figure 2: Elephant is a terrestrial animal

Similarities Between Aquatic and Terrestrial Animals

  • Both aquatic and terrestrial animals can be vertebrates and invertebrates.
  • Both aquatic and terrestrial animals show various adaptations to overcome different environmental conditions in each habitat.

Difference Between Aquatic and Terrestrial Animals

Definition

Aquatic Animals: An aquatic animal is an animal who lives in water.

Terrestrial Animals: A terrestrial animal is an animal who lives exclusively in the land.

Habitat

Aquatic Animals: Aquatic animals live in water habitat.

Terrestrial Animals: Terrestrial animals live in the land.

Mode of Respiration

Aquatic Animals: Aquatic animals respire through gills or their skin.

Terrestrial Animals: Terrestrial animals respire through lungs or trachea.

Adaptations

Aquatic Animals: Aquatic animals show several adaptations such as streamline bodies, fins, webbed feet, and air bladder.

Terrestrial Animals: Terrestrial animals show adaptations such as legs, waterproof skin, feathers, covered eggs, and kidney.

Skin

Aquatic Animals: The skin of the aquatic animals is slimy, slippery, and soft.

Terrestrial Animals: The skin of the terrestrial animals is leathery, hard or spiny.

Conclusion

Aquatic and terrestrial animals are two types of animals found in different types of habitats on the earth. Aquatic animals can be found in water habitats, which can be either fresh or marine. Terrestrial animals can be found exclusively in the land. Aquatic animals respire through gills or their skin. In contrast, terrestrial animals respire through lungs or trachea. Both aquatic and terrestrial animals consist of adaptations in the body to overcome the conditions in their habitats. The main difference between aquatic and terrestrial animals is their habitat and modes of living.  

Reference:

1. “Aquatic animal.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 June 2017. Web. . 10 July 2017. 
2. “Aquatic Invertebrates.” Stream Biology and Ecology. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2017. 
3. “Terrestrial animal.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 June 2017. Web. . 10 July 2017. 
4. “Examples of Terrestrial Animals.” Study.com. N.p., n.d. Web. . 10 July 2017.

Image Courtesy:

1.”Humpback Whale underwater shot” (Public Domain) via
2. “2163161” (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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