CLASSIFICATION OF ECHIDNA : TACHYGLOSSUS
PHYLUM :- CHORDATA (Notochord, dorsal tubular nerve cord present and gill slits present)
Group :- CRANIATA (Definite head. Cranium with brain present)
Sub-phylum :- VERTEBRATA (vertebral column present)
Division :- GNATHOSTOMATA (Jaws and paired appendages present)
Super class :- TETRAPODA (Paired limbs, lungs, bony skeleton and cornified skin)
Class :-MAMMALIA (Body covered with hairs. females have mammary glands)
Sub-class :- PROTOTHERIA (Egg laying mammals)
Order :- MONOTREMATA (Cloaca present)
Genus : TACHYGLOSSUS
- ECHIDNA is Distributed in Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea.
HABIT AND HABITAT
- It is terrestrial burrowing and nocturnal Feeds on ants.
GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF ECHIDNA : TACHYGLOSSUS
- Commonly called spiny anteater. Body divisible into head, neck and trunk.
- Externally neck and body indistinct and covered with strong pointed spines. Course hair lies at the base of spines. Lower surface has only hairs, no spines.
- Head small and produced into a small tubular pointed snout. Head contains paired eyes and nostril.
- Eyes small, without nictitating membrane. External ears absent. Tongue long and sticky and teeth absent in adult.
- Girdles forelimbs and hind limbs reptile-like. Feet without web. Sharp claws used for digging the earth and nests of insects.
- Second digit of hind limb has a long and curved toilet claw to clean spines. Tarsus of male has grooved horny poison spur.
- Male ale possesses mammary glands secreting milk and this condition is called as gynaecomastisus. where both parents nourish young one. Teats absent.
- Mammary glands open inside a ventral abdominal pouch by several apertures. Eggs transferred by mother into the pouch where the young are nourished with milk.
In defensive position Echidna rolls in such a manner that bilateral barrier of spines completely covers it.
- Echidna has phylogenetic significance, as it serves a link between reptiles and mammals. The animal is specialized for ant eating. The jaws are pointed forming a rostrum devoid of any teeth. Tongue is protrusible. The posterior region of the tongue is serrated to grind insects and the secretion of salivary gland neutralizes formic acid of ants.
- Since this mammal has tubular snout, spiny body and above features, hence it is Echidna or Spiny Anteater.