Metazoa, Biology


In the two kingdom classification, the unicellular 'animals' used to be clubbed together under a single phylum Protozoa that constituted sub-kingdom - Protozoa. The rest of the animals, all multicellular, were grouped under the sub-kingdom Metazoa under various phyla (the corresponding grouping for plants was Protophyta and Metaphyta). However, under the present concept of Five Kingdom Classification, this grouping has no relevance. Still, we often continue to use the term Metazoa to refer to the Animalia of the five kingdom classification. In this we start with an explanation of the levels of body organization in animals and the basic animal body plan. However, diverse the different invertebrates and vertebrates may appear to the eye, it is possible to group them in four master body plans.

These are the unicellular plan, the cell aggregate plan, blind sac plan and tube within a tube plan. The protozoan fall into the first category and the rest three structural plans are seen in the metazoans. We next list out the characteristic features of metazoans. We shall also discuss those features that are considered of fundamental importance for describing and understanding the structure and classification of any animal. These characters are:

  • Cleavage patterns and number of germ layers it has been derived from
  • Its body symmetry
  • Nature of body cavity
  •  Segmentation and cephalisation


Posted Date: 1/15/2013 12:45:34 AM | Location : United States

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