Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, spiders), as compared with aquatic animals, which live predominantly or entirely in the water (e.g., fish, lobsters, octopuses), or amphibians, which rely on a combination of aquatic and terrestrial habitats (e.g., frogs, or newts). Terrestrial invertebrates include ants, flies, crickets, grasshoppers and spiders.
1 Terrestrial Classes 2 Taxonomy
3 Terrestrialization 4 Terrestrial gastropods 5 See also 6 Further reading 7 References
Terrestrial Classes The term terrestrial is typically applied for species that live primarily on the ground, in contrast to arboreal species, which live primarily in trees. There are other less common terms that apply to specific groups of terrestrial animals:
Saxicolous are rock dwelling creatures. Saxicolus is derived from the Latin word "Saxum" which means Rocks. Arenicolous creatures live in the sand. Trogloxenes (or Troglodytes) predominantly live in caves.
Terrestrial invasion is one of the most important events in the
history of life. Terrestrial lineages evolved in several
animal phyla, among which vertebrates, arthropods, and mollusks are
representatives of more successful groups of terrestrial animals.
Terrestrial animals do not form a unified clade; rather, they share
only the fact that they live on land. The transition from an aquatic
to terrestrial life has evolved independently and successfully many
times by various groups of animals. Most terrestrial lineages
originated under a mild or tropical climate during the
Animals do not fall neatly into terrestrial or aquatic classification but lie along a continuum: e.g., penguins spend much of their time under water.
Labeling an animal species "terrestrial" or "aquatic" is often obscure
and becomes a matter of judgment. Many animals considered terrestrial
have a life-cycle that is partly dependent on being in water.
Penguins, seals, and walruses sleep on land and feed in the ocean, yet
they are all considered terrestrial. Many insects, e.g. mosquitos, and
all terrestrial crabs, as well as other clades, have an aquatic life
cycle stage: their eggs need to be laid in and to hatch in water;
after hatching, there is an early aquatic form, either a nymph or
There are crab species that are completely aquatic, crab species that
are amphibious, and crab species that are terrestrial. Fiddler crabs
are called "semi-terrestrial" since they make burrows in the muddy
substrate, to which they retreat during high tides. When the tide is
out, fiddler crabs search the beach for food. The same is true in the
Mollusca: many hundreds of gastropod genera and species live in
intermediate situations, such as for example, Truncatella. Some
gastropods with gills live on land, and others with a lung live in the
As well as the purely terrestrial and the purely aquatic animals,
there are many borderline species. There are no universally accepted
criteria for deciding how to label these species, thus some
assignments are disputed.
Main article: Vertebrate land invasion
Fossil evidence has shown that sea creatures, likely related to
arthropods, first began to make forays on to land around 530 million
years ago. There is little reason to believe, however, that animals
first began living reliably on land around this same time period. A
more likely hypothesis is that these early arthropods' motivation for
venturing on to dry land was to mate (as modern horseshoe crabs do) or
lay eggs out of the reach of predators. As time went on, evidence
suggests that by approximately 375 million years ago the bony fish
best adapted to life in shallow coastal/swampy waters (such as
Tiktaalik roseae), were much more viable as amphibians than were their
arthropod predecessors. Thanks to relatively strong, muscular limbs
(which were likely weight-bearing, thus making them a preferable
alternative to traditional fins in extremely shallow water), and
lungs which existed in conjunction with gills, Tiktaalik and animals
like it were able to establish a strong foothold on land by the end of
the Devonian period. As such, they are likely the most recent common
ancestor of all modern tetrapods.
Main articles: land snail, semi-slug, and slug
Terrestrial locomotion Terrestrial plant
Clack J. A. (2002). Gaining ground: the origin and evolution of
tetrapods. Indiana University Press, 369 pp.,
Cloudsley-Thompson J. L. (1988). Evolution and adaptation of
terrestrial arthropods. Springer, 141 pp.,
Dejours P. et al. (1987). Comparative physiology: life in water and on
land. Liviana Editrice, Italy, 556 pp., ISBN 978-0-387-96515-4.
Gordon M. S. & Olson E. C. (1995). Invasions of the land: the
transitions of organisms from aquatic to terrestrial life. Columbia
University Press, 312 pp., ISBN 978-0-231-06876-5.
Little C. (1983). The colonisation of land: Origins and adaptations of
terrestrial animals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 290 pp.,
Little C. (1990). The terrestrial invasion. An ecophysiological
approach to the origin of land animals. Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge. 304 pp. ISBN 978-0-521-33669-7.
Zimmer, Carl (1999). At the Water's Edge :
References This article incorporates CC-BY-2.0 text from the reference and CC-BY-2.5 text from the reference and CC-BY-3.0 text from the reference
^ Shear WA: The early development of terrestrial ecosystems. Nature
^ Vermeij GJ, Dudley R, Why are there so few evolutionary transitions
between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems? Biol J Linn Soc, 2000,
^ a b c Garwood, Russell J.; Edgecombe, Gregory D. (September 2011).
"Early Terrestrial Animals, Evolution, and Uncertainty". Evolution:
Education and Outreach. New York: Springer Science+Business Media. 4
(3): 489–501. doi:10.1007/s12052-011-0357-y. ISSN 1936-6426.
^ MacNaughton, R. B et al. First steps on land: