If we study the most prominent anatomical features of the skin of different groups of animals, we will discover that reptiles have scales, as do fish, birds, and some mammals and insects. Although, do amphibians have scales? The answer is no. Despite being cold-blooded animals like other groups of animals in which many species have scales, amphibians developed other types of skin protection structures (such as poisonous glands and warts) during their evolution.
In this AgroCorrn article we present detailed information about scale animals: examples with names and pictures .
Characteristics of animals with scales
Scales are one of the most common anatomical features shared by different groups of animals and can have various shapes, colors, and functions. Generally, the scales are rigid and robust structures that grow on the skin of animals , with the aim of protecting the individual , both against adverse weather conditions (absorbing and dissipating heat quickly), and against possible predators (defense and camouflage). They can be composed of different substances such as keratin, collagen and vitrodentine; elements that provide the scales with resistance and hardness properties.
In the next sections we will see some examples of animals that have scales , as well as more characteristics of said scales, according to the group of animals in which they appear.
Scaled Animals Examples: Common and Scientific Names
In this section we will see different examples of animals with scales and photos , classified according to the group of animals to which they belong:
- Crocodiles (family Crocodylidae)
- Serpents (suborder Serpente)
- Geckos (infraorder Gekkota)
- Iguanas (order Iguanidae)
Fish with scales
- Sharks (Superorder Selachimorpha)
- Pineapple fish ( Monocentris japonica )
- Comoros Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae )
- Rutile ( Rutilus rutilus )
- Carp ( Cyprinus carpio )
Mammals with scales
- Pangolins (genus Manis )
- Musky rat kangaroo ( Hypsiprymnodon moschatus)
- False flying rats (Anomaluridae family)
- Giant or Steller’s seabird ( Haliaeetus pelagicus )
- Woodpecker (order Piciformes)
Invertebrates with scales
- Butterflies (order Lepidoptera)
- Moths (order Lepidoptera)
Geckos, scaly sauropsids
Commonly known within the Animalia kingdom as scaly sauropsids, geckos (infraorder Gekkota) are one of the most surprising reptiles that inhabit the different warm areas of the planet.
In this case, the scales are somewhat smaller than those of their biological relatives the lizards and completely cover the geckos’ skin . They are hard but thin, soft, sometimes with small spaces between them, and other times fused and superimposed like protective plates, as in the case of tails. The main function of gecko scales is to protect these peculiar reptiles from the heat and dry environment of the regions where they live; as well as against their possible predators.
Associated with the presence of scales, geckos and other reptiles carry out the curious phenomenon of shedding their skin , with the aim of allowing new and strong scales to continue to grow and cover them.
Here you can learn more about the Characteristics of reptiles .
The pineapple fish and its characteristic scales
Without a doubt, the most outstanding physical feature of the pineapple fish ( Monocentris japonica ) is its large and heavy scales , which, together with the color of the fish, resemble the texture and appearance of vegetable pineapples.
These scales form joint plates from the head to the tail of the pineapple fish (acquiring the shape of tiles), ending in a long and straight spine like a pelvic fin. Fish scales are characterized by being viscous and lubricated, thus allowing the individual to move fluidly in the water and also, preventing possible parasites from embedding between the scales to infect the fish.
These striking tropical fish inhabit exclusively marine ecosystems, both in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Pangolins, one of the most amazing scaly mammals
Sometimes, for animals, having such a striking feature for humans as the presence of scales is a reason for negative consequences for them. This is the case of pangolins, surprising mammals that inhabit the tropical regions of Asia and Africa, where they are hunted by humans for the illegal trafficking of their scaly skins , to which they attribute supposed medicinal benefits and are also obtained as a trophy.
The scales of pangolins are soft when individuals are born and gradually, as they grow and develop, the scales harden They constitute a structure of overlapping scales like armor.
Scales in birds: the striking woodpecker
Like other species of birds, woodpeckers (order Piciformes) are characterized by the presence of scales on their legs . They are strong, grayish or brown scales that appear superimposed, covering all the skin on the hind limbs of these colorful and peculiar birds.
Although we know that the most distinctive characteristic of woodpeckers is the way they peck and hit the trunks of trees in search of food, it is also important to know what other anatomical adaptations these birds have for their best adaptation to the environment in which they live. , and the tough scales on its legs are one of them.
As striking as it may seem, scales have also appeared within the anatomy of some insects, including the beautiful butterflies ( order Lepidoptera ). These are very different scales from the vertebrate scales that we have seen in the previous examples, since butterflies have scales on their wings , forming small and very thin plates.
The main function of these plates of scales is based on attributing to the butterflies the coloring that characterizes them, without which they would not have the facility to camouflage themselves and find individuals of the same species but of the opposite sex to mate. On the other hand, the tiny scales of butterflies (the size of one thousandth of a millimeter), fulfill the function of regulating the temperature of the insect itself.
If you want to know more about them, we recommend this other AgroCorrn article about the Characteristics of butterflies, where they live, what they eat, types and curiosities .
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