24 Differences between Invertebrates and Vertebrates

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Last Updated on June 17, 2020 by Sagar Aryal

The animal kingdom has been divided into two major groups: Invertebrates (Non-Chordates) and Vertebrates (Chordates). Invertebrates are those that do not possess a vertebral column or backbone while Vertebrates are those where vertebral column or backbone is present.

Differences between Invertebrates and Vertebrates

These two groups have some differences as follows:


CharacteristicsInvertebrates (Non-Chordates)

Vertebrates (Chordates)

1.SymmetryRadial, Bi-radial or AbsentBilateral
2.MetamerismTrue or pseudo metamerism or AbsentTrue metamerism
3.Post-anal tailAbsentUsually Present
4.Grade of organizationProtoplasmic or organ-systemOrgan System
5.Germ LayersTwo (diploblastic), Three (Triploblastic) or AbsentThree (Triploblastic)
6.CoelomAcoelomate, pseudocoelomate or Truly coelomateTruly coelomate
7.Limbs derivationFrom the same segmentFrom several segments
8.NotochordNotochord or Backbone AbsentPresent at some stage or replaced by a backbone made of ring-like vertebrae
9.Gut positionDorsal to the nerve cordVentral to the nerve cord
10.Pharyngeal gill-slitsAbsentPresent at some stage of life
11.AnusOpens on the last segment or AbsentDifferentiated and opens before the last segment
12.Blood vascular systemOpen, Closed or AbsentClosed and much developed
13.HeartDorsal, Lateral or AbsentVentrally placed
14.Dorsal blood vesselBlood flows anteriorlyBlood flows posteriorly
15.Hepatic portal systemAbsentPresent
16.HemoglobinIn plasma or AbsentIn red blood corpuscles
17.RespirationThrough body surface, gills or tracheaeThrough gills or lungs
18.Nervous SystemSolidHollow
19.BrainAbove pharynx or AbsentDorsal to pharynx in head
20.Nerve cordDouble, ventral, usually bearing gangliaSingle, dorsal, without ganglia
21.Segmental nerve rootsDorsal and ventral roots not separateDorsal and ventral roots separate
22.ReproductionAsexual reproduction predominantSexual reproduction predominant
23.Regeneration powerUsually goodUsually poor
24.Body temperatureCold-bloodedCold or warm-blooded


  1. Kotpal RL. 2017. Modern Text Book of Zoology- Invertebrates. 11th Edition. Rastogi Publications.
  2. Jordan EL and Verma PS. 2018. Invertebrate Zoology. 14th Edition. S Chand Publishing.

Differences between Invertebrates and Vertebrates

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