25 Major Difference Between Vertebrates And Invertebrates

Vertebrates are animals that have a backbone inside their body. The major groups include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Invertebrates don’t have a backbone. They either have a soft body, like worms and jellyfish, or a hard outer casing covering their body, like spiders and crabs.

DescriptionVertebrates are animals that have a bony or cartilage vertebral column.  Invertebrates are animals that do not have a backbone or a vertebral column.  
Body Size & MovementGenerally large and fast-moving animals.  Generally small and slow-moving animals.  
ClassificationThere are only five classes of vertebrates.There are thirty different classes of invertebrates.
BreathingThey breathe through either gills or lungs.  They have many ways of breathing, some use spiracles; some can pass oxygen through their skin while others have primitive ‘book’ lungs.  
NotochordA notochord is present  A notochord is absent is absent.  
Central Nervous System (CNS)Their central nervous system is a hollow tube, which is located in the mid-dorsal line.  Their central nervous system is a solid tube, which is located in the mid-ventral line.  
Population Percentage On EarthThey comprise only 2-3% of the total animal species found on Earth.  They comprise more than 90% of the total animal species found on Earth.  
Endoskeleton & ExoskeletonThey have a living endoskeleton made up of bones and cartilage.  Some have a hard non-living exoskeleton or shell.  
Temperature RegulationThey are warm-blooded animals. Their body temperature remains constant. It does not vary with the temperature of the outside environment.  They are cold-blooded animals. Their body temperature varies with the outside temperature and remains equal to the outside temperature.  
Layers Of SkinThey are composed of two layers of skin: dermis and epidermis.  They are composed of one layer of skin.  
Location Of HeartTheir heart is located on the ventral side of the body.  Their heart is located on the ventral side of the body.  
Nervous SystemThey tend to have a complex nervous system and highly specified organs with specific functions.  They tend to have a simple and unorganized nervous system.  
Red Blood Cells (RBC)They have red blood cells which contain hemoglobin.  They do not have red blood cells. Their respiratory pigments occur in the blood plasma.  
AppendagesThey do not have more than two pairs of limbs.  They can have more than two pairs of appendages.  
The EyesThe eyes of the vertebrates occur as an outgrowth from the brain.  The eyes of the invertebrates occur as an outgrowth of the skin.  
Type Of EyesMost vertebrates have simple eyes.Most invertebrates have compound eyes.  
SexAll vertebrates are unisexual animals.  Most invertebrates including sponges, worms, snail and slugs are hermaphroditic animals.  
Circulatory System & Body SymmetryHave a closed circulatory system with only bilateral body symmetry.  They have an open circulatory system with radial or bilateral body symmetry.  
Mode Of NutritionTheir mode of nutrition is usually heterotrophic.  The mode of nutrition includes parasitic and heterotrophic.  
Pharyngeal CleftsThe pharynx of vertebrates has pharyngeal clefts to increase the efficiency of breathing.  Invertebrates do not have pharyngeal clefts.