Would you like to learn more about some of the species present in Nature?
If so, Zoomarine is an excellent choice for you.
Zoomarine is home to a great variety of species that can be found around the world: marine mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, invertebrates and plants. On a quick journey, find out some of the amazing characteristics and curiosities of these Zoomarine inhabitants.
Zoomarine, through its Department of Veterinary Medicine and Marine Species Rehabilitation Center, is continually investing in finding new and more efficient ways to address the welfare challenges that arise in our specimens as well as those we rehabilitate.
This investment allows us to be increasingly efficient, both in solving situations that may involve the welfare of specimens and in preventing those situations.
Birds are the second largest group of vertebrates, outnumbered only by fish. The elements of this group are distributed all around the world, with about 9 600 known species. The common characteristics of birds have are the following:
Their body is covered with feathers; Their bones are usually hollow; They have beaks and lay eggs; Their forelimbs are modified as wings and their legs are covered with scales.
The presence of feathers is one of the more distinguished aspects of this group. Besides the insulation function, feathers play a fundamental role in their flight ability.
There are several feeding behaviours amongst birds that can range from carnivores (meat-eating) to frugivorous (fruit-eating). These different food choices influence deeply the form of their beaks, as well as their bodies (legs, wings, feathers, head, etc.). To capture their food they rely on their senses, however, most birds lack a strong olfactory system.
Reptiles, which belong to the group of air-breathing vertebrates, have scales covering their bodies – one of their most distinguishable characteristics.
All elements of this group are cold-blooded (ectothermic), i.e., their body temperature depends directly on the surrounding environment. This characteristic has forced them to evolve specific behaviours to adjust their body temperature within certain physiological levels.
Reptiles include marine and land turtles, crocodilians, snakes and lizards.
Fish are, by far, the most representative group within all vertebrates. With more than 500 million years of evolution (Ordovicic Period), presently there are more than 25 000 species known, divided into two major groups:
- Bony fish (Class Osteichthyes – Ex: Atlantic Sailfish)
- Cartilaginous fish (Class Chondrichthyes – sharks, rays and chimaeras)
Throughout their life history, fish have evolved a series of adaptations that enabled them to occupy almost every aquatic ecosystem on earth. The shape of their bodies and fins, as well as the number of the latter, are a really good example of how they adapted to very distinct environments.
Despite their body shape differences, they all have several characteristics in common: They are cold-blooded (ectothermic), i.e., their body temperature depends directly on the surrounding environment; They breathe through gills – one of the most efficient respiratory organs in the Animal Kingdom; and they have an extra sense – the lateral line which detects movements and vibrations in the surrounding water.
Invertebrates, alone, represent 95% of all animals on earth. The main characteristic, common to all its elements, is the absence of a vertebral column. They occupy almost every habitat on the planet (aerial, land and aquatic).
The largest group within the invertebrates is the Class Insecta, i.e., the insects (200 million insects per human being!). Within the invertebrates we can also find arachnids (spiders, dust mites, etc), molluscs (clams, octopuses, etc), crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, etc) and many others.
The Plantae Kingdom includes a great number of plant species that presently inhabit the planet – from the primitive ferns to the more evolved flowering plants. This gives origin to a huge variety of life forms, modelling every ecosystem on earth. With more than 250 000 species, plants are the second more diverse group of higher living organisms, being only out passed by arthropods.
One of the most important plant characteristics is their green colour, which is due to the presence of a pigment called chlorophyll, which absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to synthesize carbohydrates from CO2 and water through a process called photosynthesis.