Vertebrates (ˈvɜrtɨbrəts) are animals that are members of the subphylum
In life, a subphylum is a taxonomic rank intermediate between phylum and superclass. The rank of subdivision in plants and fungi is equivalent to subphylum.Not all phyla are divided into subphyla...

 Vertebrata (chordates with backbones and spinal column
Vertebral column
In human anatomy, the vertebral column is a column usually consisting of 24 articulating vertebrae, and 9 fused vertebrae in the sacrum and the coccyx. It is situated in the dorsal aspect of the torso, separated by intervertebral discs...

s). Vertebrates are the largest group of chordates, with currently about 58,000 species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 described. Vertebrates include the jawless fishes
Agnatha is a superclass of jawless fish in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata. The group excludes all vertebrates with jaws, known as gnathostomes....

, bony fishes, shark
Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

s and rays
Batoidea is a superorder of cartilaginous fish commonly known as rays and skates, containing more than 500 described species in thirteen families...

, amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

s, reptiles, mammals, and birds. Extant vertebrates range in size from the carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

 species Paedocypris
Paedocypris is a genus of cyprinid fish found in Southeast Asia where it occurs in Malaysia and Indonesia. Three species are known.Paedocypris progenetica has been claimed to be the smallest known species of fish and vertebrate in the world...

, at as little as 7.9 mm (0.3 inch), to the blue whale
Blue Whale
The blue whale is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales . At in length and or more in weight, it is the largest known animal to have ever existed....

, at up to 33 m (110 ft).