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Different types of Species 

Keystone species

  • Species which determine the ability of a large number of other species to survive
  • Extinction of keystone species has snowballing effect on extinction of other species. Examples of keystone species :
  • Bees → pollination of fruits and flowers.
  • Plankton → food of many fishes

Flagship species

  • a species selected to act as an icon or symbol for a defined habitat campaign or environmental cause
  • By focusing on, and achieving conservation of that species, the status of many other species which share its habitat – or are vulnerable to the same threats – may also be improved

Umbrella species

  • species selected for making conservation related decisions, typically because protecting these species indirectly protects the many other species that make up the ecological community of its habitat

 

Indicator species

  • a species or group of species chosen as an indicator of the state of an ecosystem or of certain processes within that ecosystem.
  • can be among the most sensitive species in a region, and sometimes act as an early warning to monitoring biologists

 

Charismatic megafauna

  • large animal species with widespread popular appeal that environmental activists use to achieve environmentalist goals

 

Sentinel species

  • Species which are sensitive indicator of environmental problems. For ex. frogs, toads, salamander, vultures
  • Frogs breath through their moist skin, which is very sensitive to pollutants in environment
  • a rapid decline in the population of frogs thus would indicate a looming environmental problem.

 

Non-native species

  • Non-native species have no predators or competitors to control their population in new area hence they destroy a vast range of plants & reduced the forest area.
  • Rats of several species were unintended stowaways on oceanic voyages, and thus spread around the world.
  • Infected humans took human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which caused aids from Africa to the rest of the world.

 

Sacred Groves of India

  • Communally + NGO protected forests which usually have a significant religious connotation for the protecting community for ex. Myristica swaps of Kerala
  • Their water holding capacity is immense and thus their depletion can lead to floods in rains and dry valley in other seasons
  • Hunting and logging are usually strictly prohibited but other forms of forest usage like honey collection and deadwood collection are sometimes allowed on a sustainable basis.
  • Sacred groves did not enjoy legal protection in India until the introduction of the protected area category community reserves under the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act of 2002.

 

Vultures and Diclofenac

  • Diclofenac is a painkiller medicine used mostly for arthritis in humans & Veterinary Diclofenac is used on cattle, as painkiller, stopping inflammation and fever
  • When Animals are treated with Diclofenac, this drug keeps accumulating in their body. When these animals die, Vultures eat them – kidney failure – death of vulture
  • Less vultures – more dead animals for dogs to eat – dog population increases – more problem of rabies.
  • Vulture’s digestive system can destroy many parasites, but dog’s digestive system cannot. Hence dogs who eat dead animals are more disease carriers than vultures
  • Hence Government of India banned veterinary Diclofenac, now farmers use Meloxicam drugs instead of Diclofenac

 

Blue whales

  • Largest mammals on Earth (Elephents are the largest mammals on land only)
  • International whaling commission (IWC) was set up in 1946 to fix hunting quota of whales for the countries but Since 1980s IWC called for a halt on whale poaching
  • Japan, Norway and Ireland are major countries that still continue to indulge in whale hunting & are unhappy with IWC and CITES restrictions

 

Warm blooded animals

  • have a body temperature that stays constant no matter what the outside temperature is;
  • they have to take in a lot of food every day to create enough energy to maintain that temperature
  • Birds, Mammals

Cold-blooded animals

  • have a body temperature that changes depending on the temperature of their surroundings.
  • Cold-blooded animals are more active when the temperature is warm.
  • In colder temperatures, they become sluggish, sometimes going into a sleep-like state called dormancy.
  • Because they don’t have to maintain a steady body temperature, cold-blooded animals can go much longer without food than warm-blooded animal
  • Fishes, amphibians & reptiles

 

Vertebrate

  • an animal that has a spine, or backbone
  • mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes
  • are the most advanced organisms on Earth

Invertebrates

  • animals that do not have backbones, such as insects like butterflies and grasshoppers, spiders, and worms.
  • Most of the animals on Earth are actually invertebrates, comprising 95 per cent of animal species.

Earth Biodiversity

 

Mammals

  • warm blooded vertebrate animal, distinguished by the possession of hair or fur
  • females secrete milk for the nourishment of the young
  • Humans, whales, elephants, horses, dogs, bats

 

Amphibians

  • cold-blooded vertebrates that live on land and in water,
  • fertilization is typically external, meaning that the sperm and egg join outside of the female’s body,
  • lay unprotected eggs (without shell like chicken egg) in water or moist damp places
  • Frogs, toads, salamanders, Caecilians, newts

 

Reptiles

  • Cold blooded vertebrates whose bodies are covered by scales.
  • Most reptiles lay eggs, similar to birds. Many reptiles do not look after their offspring.
  • Unlike mammal’s offspring, young reptiles are equipped to survive without parental care
  • snakes, crocodiles and alligators, turtles, chameleon, lizards

 

Anarchids

  • invertebrate characterizedby simple eyes and four pairs of legs
  • spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites, harvestmen

 

Mollusk

  • an invertebrate of a large phylum which includes snails, slugs, mussels, Squids and octopuses.
  • They have a soft body & live in aquatic or damp habitats, and most kinds have an external calcareous shell.

 

Bacteria

  • Non chlorophylls microorganisms which lead saprophytic or parasitic existence

Earth Species

Algae

  • Green non-differentiated plant (non-differentiated into organs like root, stem & leaf) possessing chlorophyll,
  • generally grow in moist conditions (Autotrophic plants i.e. can manufacture their own food)

 

Fungi

  • Non green, non-differentiated plant characterized by total absence of chlorophyll,
  • grow either on dead, rotten organic matters as saprophytes or live as parasites on other living bodies (referred as hosts) ex. Mushroom & Mould

 

Lichens

  • A peculiar combination of an algae & a fungus (Greyish green plants)
  • Lives in symbiosis as algae produce carbohydrates for fungus & fungus absorbs & retains water, keeping algal cell moist.
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