Difference Between Vertebrates and Invertebrates (With Table)

Earth is a unique planet. It is the only known planet in this vast universe having a life. There are different varieties of living organisms in which it is majorly divided into plants and animals. Animals are further divided into many groups. Vertebrates and Invertebrates are two different groups in which the animal kingdom is divided.

Vertebrates vs Invertebrates

The difference between Vertebrates and Invertebrates is that Vertebrates are the type of animals that have a spine surrounded by cartilage or bones and it comprises only 3% of animal species, on the other hand, Invertebrates are the type of animals that do not have any spine, and it comprises of more than 95% of animal species.

Vertebrates are animals having spines. It has a defined body structure with a proper central nervous system. Vertebrates are very common animals, but they only consist of 3% of all known animal species, which roughly count to approximately 70,000. According to body structure and function, they are further divided into five subparts.

Invertebrates are a major part of the animal kingdom as it includes more 95% of animal species which is around 1.25 million species of animals and still more to discover. It does not have a spine and a comparatively simpler body structure. It is the vast group that further divided into many sub-parts.

Comparison Table Between Vertebrates and Invertebrates

Parameters of ComparisonVertebratesInvertebrates
Definition It is a type of animal that has a spine.It is the type of animal that does not have spines.
RespirationThey generally have specialized organs like gills and lungs for breathing.They have various methods for breathing like some animals respire thorough skin.
Reproduction They generally reproduce using the sexual method.They generally reproduce using the asexual method.
Classification They are further divided into five subparts.They are further divided into thirty subparts.
ExampleSnake, deer, lion, parrot are some examples of Vertebrates.Snails, squid, spiders, crabs, earthworms are examples of Invertebrates.

What is Vertebrates?

Vertebrates are animals having vertebral columns. Vertebrate is a Latin word meaning joint of the spine. It consists of approximately 70,000 animal species that make up less than 5% of described animal species. It consists of various animals like Paedophryne amanuensis, a type of frog of size 7.7 mm to 33 m blue whale.

It is a vast group with common features like all the animals have a rod passing through the body made up of multiple numbers of bones and the main nerve passing through it known as spine. It has a complex and defined body structure. In the case of aquatic life, it has gills, and in the case of terrestrial life, it has lungs as a part of the respiratory system.

It originated 525 million years ago, and since then, it has been an evolutionary process that leads to many features that we can see now. It has a central nervous system as a complex body structure that runs through the vertebral column.

It is mainly divided into five sub-parts that include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Most of them reproduce by the sexual method. Some common examples of Vertebrates are goldfish (fish), frog (amphibian), snake (reptile), pigeon (bird), cow (mammals).

What is Invertebrates?

Invertebrates are animals that lack vertebral columns. They consist of a wide variety of animals in this group, it has around 1.25 million types of species, and scientists claim that there are still 30 million more species to discover. It is more than 95% of all animal species combined.

Invertebrates word is also made from Latin word vertebra, here prefix in means without. The major part of the animal kingdom consists of Invertebrates. Its size ranges from 0.002-inch rotifers to 30 – 33 feet colossal squid. The oldest fossil of invertebrates is 665 million years old that indicates that many invertebrates, through evolution, changed into vertebrates.

The process of respiration is different for various organisms. Some have an open respiratory system. Some use their skin for the process. Some of them use the sexual method of reproduction, but a major part has adopted the asexual mode of reproduction.

The wide variety of invertebrates are very useful for us. More than 80% of flowers are pollinated by invertebrates, on which we are dependent for our food. They reproduce rapidly, and they get mature in few weeks; hence they are a good option for cultivation as they are a good source of protein. There is much other importance of invertebrates in our life that go unnoticed.

Main Differences Between Vertebrates and Invertebrates

  1. The main difference between Vertebrates and Invertebrates is that Vertebrates have a long column of bones with a spine, while Invertebrates do not have any such column and spine.
  2. Vertebrates have gills or lungs to breathe, on the other hand, Invertebrates have many ways, like some use skin to pass gases, and some use spiracles, etc.
  3. Most of the Vertebrates are warm-blooded animals which means their body remains constant, in contrast, Invertebrates generally belongs to the cold-blooded animal group which means their body temperatures changes according to the surrounding.
  4. Vertebrates comprise about 3% of the animal population on earth, whereas Invertebrates include more than 95% of the animal population.
  5. Vertebrates group of animal is further divided into five more sub-parts, on the other hand, Invertebrates is further divided around thirty sub-parts.


Whenever we talk about animals, we automatically think about animals like lions, horses, dogs, cats, etc. All these animals are Vertebrates. Even being a major part of the animal population, they seem less relevant. Whatever the case, both of them are important and useful for the ecosystem, and to understand their importance, we must know the difference between them.

Vertebrates are animals with vertebral columns and spines. It is only 3% of all the animal species. It is further divided into five parts like mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and amphibians. In contrast, Invertebrates are animals without vertebral columns. It is more than 95% of animal species. It is further divided into thirty sub-parts.


  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.1201/9780429290916-2/relative-importance-vertebrate-invertebrate-herbivores-plant-population-dynamics-michael-crawley
  2. https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/gb-2010-11-6-r59
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