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.
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:
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 Paleozoic and Mesozoic, whereas few animals became fully terrestrial during the Cenozoic.
When excluding internal parasites, free living species in terrestrial environments are represented by the following ten phyla: flatworms (planarians), nemerteans (ribbon worms), nematodes (roundworms), rotifers, tardigrades (water bears), Onychophora (velvet worms), arthropods, mollusks (gastropods: land snails and slugs), annelids and chordates (tetrapods). Roundworms, tardigrades, and rotifers are microscopic animals that require a film of water to live in, and are not considered truly terrestrial. Flatworms, ribbon worms, velvet worms and annelids all depend on more or less moist habitats, as do the arthropods centipedes and millipedes. The three remaining phyla, arthropods, mollusks, and chordates, all contain species that have adapted totally to dry terrestrial environments, and contain species that have no aquatic phase in their life cycles.
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 larva.
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 water.
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.
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.
Gastropod mollusks are one of the most successful animals that have diversified in the fully terrestrial habitat. They have evolved terrestrial taxa in more than nine lineages. They are commonly referred to as land snails and slugs.
Terrestrial invasion of gastropod mollusks has occurred in Neritopsina, Cyclophoroidea, Littorinoidea, Rissooidea, Ellobioidea, Onchidioidea, Veronicelloidea, Succineoidea, and Stylommatophora, and in particular, each of Neritopsina, Rissooidea and Ellobioidea has likely achieved land invasion more than once.
Most terrestrialization events have occurred during the Paleozoic or Mesozoic. Gastropods are especially unique due to several fully terrestrial and epifaunal lineages that evolved during the Cenozoic. Some members of rissooidean families Truncatellidae, Assimineidae, and Pomatiopsidae are considered to have colonized to land during the Cenozoic. Most truncatellid and assimineid snails amphibiously live in intertidal and supratidal zones from brackish water to pelagic areas. Terrestrial lineages likely evolved from such ancestors. The rissooidean gastropod family Pomatiopsidae is one of the few groups that have evolved fully terrestrial taxa during the late Cenozoic in the Japanese Archipelago only. Shifts from aquatic to terrestrial life occurred at least twice within two Japanese endemic lineages in Japanese Pomatiopsidae and it started in the Late Miocene.
About one-third of gastropod species is terrestrial. In terrestrial habitats they are subjected to daily and seasonal variation in temperature and water availability. Their success in colonizing different habitats is due to physiological, behavioral, and morphological adaptations to water availability, as well as ionic and thermal balance. They are adapted to most of the habitats on Earth. The shell of a snail is constructed of calcium carbonate, but even in acidic soils one can find various species of shell-less slugs. Land-snails also live in deserts, where they must contend with heat and aridity. Terrestrial gastropods are primarily herbivores and only a few groups are carnivorous. Carnivorous gastropods usually feed on other gastropod species or on weak individuals of the same species; some feed on insect larvae or earthworms.
Belgica antarctica, the Antarctic midge, is a species of flightless midge, endemic to the continent of Antarctica. At 2–6 mm (0.079–0.24 in) long, it is the largest purely terrestrial animal native to the continent, as well as its only insect.
It also has the smallest known insect genome as of 2014, with only 99 million base pairs of nucleotides (and about 13,500 genes).Bissekty Formation
The Bissekty Formation (sometimes referred to as Bissekt) is situated in the Kyzyl Kum desert of Uzbekistan, and dates from the late Cretaceous Period. Laid down in the mid to late Turonian, it is dated to about 92-90 ma (million years ago). The Bissekty Formation is characterised by a mix of marine, brackish, freshwater, and terrestrial animal fossils. This stands in contrast the strictly marine fossils found in the underlying Dzheirantui Formation, and indicates that the Bissekty was formed during the regression of a saltwater sea. The coastline expanded inland again in the upper portion of the Bissekty, represented by a proportional increase of fully aquatic species, which were almost completely absent from the middle period of the formation. Semi-aquatic species remained abundant during this middle period, and the geology of the formations indicates that a braided river system took the place of the coastline. Eventually the area was again completely underwater, during the time period represented by the later Aitym Formation, which preserves coastal marine sediments.Carboniferous
The Carboniferous is a geologic period and system that spans 60 million years from the end of the Devonian Period 358.9 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Permian Period, 298.9 Mya. The name Carboniferous means "coal-bearing" and derives from the Latin words carbō ("coal") and ferō ("I bear, I carry"), and was coined by geologists William Conybeare and William Phillips in 1822.Based on a study of the British rock succession, it was the first of the modern 'system' names to be employed, and reflects the fact that many coal beds were formed globally during that time. The Carboniferous is often treated in North America as two geological periods, the earlier Mississippian and the later Pennsylvanian. Terrestrial animal life was well established by the Carboniferous period. Amphibians were the dominant land vertebrates, of which one branch would eventually evolve into amniotes, the first solely terrestrial vertebrates.
Arthropods were also very common, and many (such as Meganeura) were much larger than those of today. Vast swaths of forest covered the land, which would eventually be laid down and become the coal beds characteristic of the Carboniferous stratigraphy evident today. The atmospheric content of oxygen also reached its highest levels in geological history during the period, 35% compared with 21% today, allowing terrestrial invertebrates to evolve to great size.The later half of the period experienced glaciations, low sea level, and mountain building as the continents collided to form Pangaea. A minor marine and terrestrial extinction event, the Carboniferous rainforest collapse, occurred at the end of the period, caused by climate change.Chinese salamander
The Chinese salamander (Hynobius chinensis) is a species of salamander in the family Hynobiidae endemic to China. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, rivers, freshwater marshes, freshwater springs, and arable land. It is threatened by habitat loss.
The Chinese salamander is a terrestrial animal and only lives in water during its breeding period.Eoarthropleura
Eoarthropleura was a genus of millipede-like creatures which lived between the Late Silurian and Late Devonian periods. Fossils, mainly of cuticle fragments, have been found in Europe (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany and Shropshire, England) and North America (New York, USA and New Brunswick, Canada). It is the earliest known member of the Arthropleuridea, and the oldest known terrestrial animal of North America.Greater long-nosed armadillo
The greater long-nosed armadillo (Dasypus kappleri) is a South American species of armadillo found in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. It is a solitary, nocturnal, terrestrial animal that feeds on arthropods and other invertebrates, usually living in the vicinity of streams and swamps.
One of the larger species of armadillo, it measures 83 to 106 cm (33 to 42 in) in total length and generally weighing 8.5 to 10.5 kg (19 to 23 lb), though it can reach as much as 15 kg (33 lb). Spurs on its hind legs allow it to crawl on its knees into narrow tunnels.Guinea baboon
The Guinea baboon (Papio papio) is a baboon from the Old World monkey family. Some (older) classifications list only two species in the genus Papio, this one and the hamadryas baboon. In those classifications, all other Papio species are considered subspecies of P. papio and the species is called the savanna baboon.
The Guinea baboon inhabits a small area in western Africa. Its range includes Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, southern Mauritania and western Mali. Its habitat includes dry forests, gallery forests, and adjoining bush savannas or steppes. It has reddish-brown hair, a hairless, dark-violet or black face with the typical dog-like muzzle, which is surrounded by a small mane, and a tail carried in a round arc. It also has limb modifications that allow it to walk long distances on the ground. The Guinea baboon is the smallest baboon species, weighing between 13 and 26 kg (28.6–57 lbs). Their life spans are between 35 and 45 years.
It is a diurnal and terrestrial animal, but sleeps in trees at night. The number of suitable sleeping trees limits the group size and the range. It lives in troops of up to 200 individuals, each with a set place in a hierarchy. Group living provides protection from predators such as the lion and various hyena species. Like all baboons, it is omnivorous, eating fruits, buds, roots, grasses, greens, seeds, tubers, leaves, nuts, cereals, insects, and small mammals. Because it eats almost anything available, it is able to occupy areas with few resources or harsh conditions. Its presence may help improve habitats because it digs for water and spreads seeds in its waste, encouraging plant growth.
The Guinea baboon is a highly communicative animal. It communicates by using a variety of vocalizations and physical interactions. In addition to vocalizations to each other, this animal has vocal communications apparently intended to be received and interpreted by predators.
Due to its small range and the loss of its habitat, the Guinea baboon is classified as "near threatened" by the IUCN.Jean-Charles Jacobs
Jean-Charles Jacobs (1821–1907) was a Belgian doctor and entomologist, a pupil of Constantin Wesmael. He graduated in medicine from the University of Brussels, but never abandoned the study of insects, and was one of the founders of the Société entomologique de Belgique. He concentrated on the Hymenoptera, often in collaboration with Jules Tosquinet, turning to Diptera later in life. Among his later studies was a report on the insects collected by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition, including that continent's largest fully terrestrial animal, the fly Belgica antarctica .Jonathan (tortoise)
Jonathan (hatched c. 1832 (age 186–187 years old) is a Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa), a subspecies of the Aladabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa), and the oldest known living terrestrial animal in the world. Jonathan resides on the island of Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.Kilu Cave
Kilu Cave is a paleoanthropological site located on Buka Island in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Kilu Cave is located at the base of a limestone cliff, 65 m (213 ft) from the modern coastline. With evidence for human occupation dating back to 29,000 years, Kilu Cave is the earliest known site for human occupation in the Solomon Islands archipelago.Makara (Hindu mythology)
Makara (Sanskrit: मकर) is a sea-creature in Hindu culture. It is generally depicted as half terrestrial animal in the frontal part (stag, deer or elephant) and half aquatic animal in the hind part (usually a fish or seal tail, snake tail though sometimes a peacock or even a floral tail is depicted). Even-though Makara may take many different forms throughout Hindu culture, in today's modern world, its form is always related to the Marsh Crocodile or a Water Monitor. In Hindu astrology, Makara is equivalent to the sign of Capricorn, tenth of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac.
Makara appears as the vahana (vehicle) of the river goddess Ganga, Narmada and of the sea god Varuna. Makara are considered guardians of gateways and thresholds, protecting throne rooms as well as entryways to temples; it is the most commonly recurring creature in Hindu and Buddhist temple iconography, and also frequently appears as a Gargoyle or as a spout attached to a natural spring. Makara-shaped earrings called Makarakundalas are sometimes worn by the Hindu gods, for example Shiva, the Destroyer, or the Preserver-god Vishnu, the Sun god Surya, and the Mother Goddess Chandi. Makara is also the insignia of the love god Kamadeva, who has no dedicated temples and is also known as Makaradhvaja, "one whose flag depicts a makara".Myriapoda
Myriapoda is a subphylum of arthropods containing millipedes, centipedes, and others. The group contains over 16,000 species, most of which are terrestrial. Although their name suggests they have myriad (10,000) legs, myriapods range from having up to 750 legs (the millipede Illacme plenipes) to having fewer than ten legs.
The fossil record of myriapods reaches back into the late Silurian, although molecular evidence suggests a diversification in the Cambrian Period, and Cambrian fossils exist which resemble myriapods. The oldest unequivocal myriapod fossil is of the millipede Pneumodesmus newmani, from the late Silurian (428 million years ago). P. newmani is also important as the earliest known terrestrial animal. The phylogenetic classification of myriapods is still debated.
The scientific study of myriapods is myriapodology, and those who study myriapods are myriapodologists.Orizaba deer mouse
The Orizaba deer mouse (Peromyscus beatae) is a small species of rodent in the family Cricetidae, native to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. It is found in thorn scrub and favors rocky areas with brush and scattered trees. They are nocturnal, and have been discovered to feed on arthropods, seeds, and green plant material. Breeding takes place year-round, and the mean litter size is two to three young in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is known to be a terrestrial animal.Pantylus
Pantylus is an extinct lepospondyl amphibian from the Permian period of North America.
Pantylus was probably a largely terrestrial animal, judging from its well-built legs. It was about 25 centimetres (10 in) long, and resembled a lizard with a large skull and short limbs. It had numerous blunt teeth, and probably chased after invertebrate prey.Petasina
Petasina is a genus of air-breathing land snails, terrestrial animal pulmonate gastropod mollusks in the family Hygromiidae, the hairy snails and their allies.Plutomurus ortobalaganensis
Plutomurus ortobalaganensis is the deepest terrestrial animal ever found on Earth, living at 1,980 metres (6,500 ft) below a cave entrance. It is a species of springtail (arthropods) endemic to the Krubera-Voronja cave system in Georgia. It was discovered in the CAVEX Team expedition of 2010.Seven-banded armadillo
The seven-banded, long-nosed armadillo or just seven-banded armadillo, Dasypus septemcinctus, is a species of armadillo from South America found in Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.
It is a solitary nocturnal, terrestrial animal, living mostly in dry habitats, outside of rainforest regions.Terrestrial
Terrestrial refers to things related to land or the planet Earth.
Terrestrial may also refer to:
Terrestrial animal, an animal that lives on land opposed to living in water, or sometimes an animal that lives on or near the ground, as opposed to arboreal life (in trees)
A fishing fly that simulates the appearance of a land insect is referred to as a terrestrial fly.
Terrestrial ecoregion, land ecoregions, as distinct from freshwater ecoregions and marine ecoregions
Terrestrial ecosystem, an ecosystem found only on landforms
Terrestrial gamma-ray flash, a burst of gamma rays produced in Earth's atmosphere
Terrestrial locomotion, evolutionary adaptation from aquatic types of locomotion
Terrestrial plant, a plant that grows on land rather than in water or on rocks or trees
Terrestrial planet, a planet that is primarily composed of silicate rocks, and thus "Earth-like"
Terrestrial radio, radio signals received through a conventional aerial, as opposed to satellite radio
Terrestrial radiation, due to the insolation of heat by the earth surface, earth re-radiates the heat to the atmosphere in the form of long waves
Terrestrial reconnaissance, a type of reconnaissance that is employed along the elements of ground warfare
Terrestrial reference frame, the reference frame as one views from earth
Terrestrial television, television signals received through a conventional aerial, as opposed to satellite television or cable television
Terrestrial Time, an astronomical time standard
Terrestrial Trunked Radio, a specialist walkie talkie standard used by police departments, fire departments, ambulance services and the military
Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, the intense diversification of land animalsTruncatellina atomus
Truncatellina atomus is a species of minute air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial animal pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Vertiginidae.
This species is endemic to the Canary Islands.