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Habitats, classifying animals and food chains

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Classifying animals

All animals within a habitat can be classified, and this means that they can be sorted into groups depending on similarities or differences between them. 

Every animal belongs to a species, and classification allows scientists to know how closely related different species are.

One of the main ways to classify is based on whether the animals have a backbone or not, and this will class them as either an invertebrate or a vertebrate. Not all vertebrates or invertebrates are the same species though, and not every type of animal within a group are the same species either. For example, mammals fall under 'vertebrates' as they have a backbone, but not all mammals are the same species. 

The diagram below gives an example of how animals can be classified in a classification tree. 


Depending on the habitat you may find an equal amount of both vertebrates and invertebrates living in the same space. For example, in the ocean you would see invertebrate jellyfish and vertebrate mammals, such as whales. However, a microhabitat is a smaller habitat with different conditions to the surrounding habitat. This means that animals need to be more adapted to live there, so are more likely to be closely related. An example of a microhabitat is the space under a plant pot, where you are likely to find small invertebrates such as woodlice and spiders.