Invertebrates Taxonomic List

Identifying Invertebrates found in Maine…..

Maine’s diverse climate and ecosystems provide suitable habitat for an equally diverse number of Invertebrate animals.  Two that Maine is best known for are the Lobster and the Black Fly.  The Lobster is a crustecean found in the coastal waters of Maine’s rocky coast.  The other is an Insect that thrives in small streams throughout the inland portions of the State.

Invertebrates are divided from Vertebrates because they lack a backbone and supporting internal skeleton.  Most Invertebrates have a covering on the outside of the animal’s body that acts to protect and support the body of the animal. Invertebrates are the most common species of animals that inhabit Maine’s 3500 miles of shoreline along the Atlantic coast.  Some Invertebrates like the Starfish spend their entire lives under water in tidal pools that can only be observed at low tide while others are found in the forest, far away from water such as a Forest Snail and Slug.

Insects are the most common and well known of Invertebrate Animals.  They are the primary diet of many birds and mammals, they pollinate plants and trees and feed on decaying matter helping to regenerate the life cycle.  From Crickets to Fireflies, Mosquitoes to Bees, Insects are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and demand respect as biting, stinging and sometimes disease carrying creatures.  Although caution is necessary around insects, the use of pesticides to eliminate them from the landscape has the potential for harm far beyond the intended use of the chemical.

Domain: Eukarya

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Porifera Sponges – lack a digestive tract & breakdown and absorb nutrients within their cells.

Phylum: Cnidaria Jellyfish and Sea Anenomes – Carnivores that use tentacles with stingers to capture & push prey into its mouth.  The digestive system called a Gastrovascular cavity, as an incomplete digestive system, undigested food and waste exits the body back through the mouth.

The Sponges, Jellyfish and Sea Anenomes have Radial Symmetry meaning the animal can be divided like a pie any place from top to bottom and each piece will be equally the same.  These animals do not have a head with sensory organs like humans do.  Thus they do not move forward head first, they are stationary on the floor of their marine environment or float in the water with the current.

Phylum: Echnoderms   Sea Stars & Sea Urchins Marine animals that as adults are mostly radial, lack body segments with a Water Vascular System meaning their mouths are near their suction feet.  To digest their prey, they push their stomachs out through their mouths and into the body of their prey such as a mollusk.

All other animals have Bilateral Symmetry.  Meaning the animal can be cut equally into half with each half being the same.  Humans are Bilateral, two ears, eyes, arms and legs.  One half is a mirror image of the other half.  These animals all have heads with sensory organs, such as eyes and a mouth.  Most of these animals all move forward headfirst, an exception is Humans because we walk upright.  Bilateral animals have a body cavity unlike the Radial group which is solid.  This cavity allows for greater protection of the internal organs from the cushion that is provided by the fluid contained in this space.

Taxonomic list of Invertebrates in Maine

Phylum: Mollusca  Soft bodies with hard shells

Class: Gastropods meaning ‘belly-foot’ Families of Snails & Slugs

Class: Bivalves meaning ‘leaf of a folding door’ Families of Clams, Oysters, Mussels & Scallops

Class: Cephalopods meaning ‘head foot’ Families of Squid & Octopus

Phylum: Annelida meaning ‘ring’ with Segmented Bodies with a Head, a Tail and a Digestive Tract

Class: Earthworms and Leeches

Phylum: Arthropods    Jointed Appendages or lets with Exoskeleton & Molt

Class: Horseshoe Crab

Class: Arachnids Spiders, Ticks & Mites 4 pairs of legs

Class: Crustaceans Lobsters, Crayfish, Crab, Shrimp & Barnacles

Class: Millipedes & Centipedes

Class: Insects Head, Thorax & Abdomen  3 pairs of legs

Order: Orthoptera Grasshopper, Crickets, Walking sticks & Praying Mantises

Order: Odonata Dragonfly & Damselfly

Order: Hemiptera True Bugs, Water striders, Bedbugs, plant Bugs, Stinkbugs,

Order: Coleoptera: Beetles

Order: Lepidoptera Butterflies and Moths

Order: Dipera Fruit flies, houseflies, gnats & mosquitoes

Order: Hymenoptera Wasps, ants, bees & hornets.

Identifying Invertebrates found in Maine…..