Symbols and Signs


What characteristic or adaptation do these drawings represent as a symbol for its group? Most amphibians are "cold-blooded" vertebrates (have a backbone). They hatch from eggs in or next to water and live as water-breathing larva (or tadpole) with no legs. As they grow, they change into air-breathing, four-legged adults that live on the land but like to be near water. Amphibians are often covered with a soft skin that absorbs water, air and chemicals around it. This group includes: frogs and toads, salamanders and newts, and caecilians (limbless amphibians). This symbol shows webbed feet. The Texas state symbol for amphibians is the Texas toad.

Birds Birds are warm-blooded, air-breathing vertebrates (have a backbone). Their body is covered with feathers. Birds have beaks, wings and scale covered legs. All birds lay eggs that are covered with a calcium carbonate shell. This symbol shows feathers. The Texas state symbol for birds is the Mockingbird.

Fish Fish are scaled, "cold-blooded" vertebrates (have a backbone) found in water environments. They fall into three main groups: agnatha or jawless fish, chondrichthyes or fish that have cartilage instead of bones and osteichthyes or bony fish. Most fish lay eggs, though a few species give birth to live young. This group includes: Agnatha - lampreys and hagfish, Chondrichthyes - sharks, skates and rays, and Osteichthyes - all other fish. This symbol shows scales and a fin for swimming. The Texas state symbol for fish is the Guadalupe bass.


Insects Insects have six legs and three body parts, a head, thorax and abdomen. They have an exoskeleton that protects their soft insides. This symbol shows the three body parts and legs. The Texas state symbol for insects is the Monarch butterfly.

Mammals Mammals are warm-blooded air-breathing vertebrates (have a backbone). Their body has hair or fur. All mammals feed their young milk. Most mammals give birth to miniature versions of themselves. This group includes: Placentals - most mammals, Monotremes - duckbilled platypus, echidnas, and Marsupials - opossums, kangaroos. This symbol shows fur and a nose for breathing air. The Texas state symbols for mammals are the Longhorn, Mexican free-tailed bat and armadillo.


MollusksMollusks are "cold-blooded" invertebrates (no backbone). They have soft-bodies and have a shell. This symbol shows the snail in its shell. The Texas state symbol for shells is the Lightning whelk.


Plants Plants don't move on their own and use photosynthesis for food. They consist of leaves and/or stems that capture the sun's energy and an underground root system. This group includes: moss and liverworts, ferns, conifers, and flowering plants. This symbols shows leaves. The Texas state symbols for plants are the prickly pear cactus, bluebonnets, sweet onion and the pecan tree.


Reptiles Reptiles are "cold-blooded" air-breathing vertebrates (have a backbone). Reptiles have a tough skin with scales. Most reptiles lay eggs, though some give birth to fully-formed young. This group includes crocodiles, alligators, turtles, snakes, lizards, and tuatara. This symbols shows scales. The Texas state symbol for reptiles is the Texas horned lizard.