What is Taxonomic Hierarchy?
Taxonomic hierarchy is the arrangement of various categories in successive levels of the biological classification. Each of this level or hierarchy is called as the taxonomic category or rank. Let’s understand this concept with an example. Consider birds; They are a group of organisms which show common characteristics like feathers and flight. Thus, based on the common characteristics, they can be classified into a taxonomic category.
The study of taxonomy has lead to the taxonomic categories – Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species. Now let us see how all the organisms are classified into the hierarchy.
It is the lowest level of classification and shows the high level of similarities among the organisms. One species can be distinguished from other closely related species based on distinct differences in morphology. Let us look at an example; Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum – Both are malaria causing parasites, but have different effects on a patient. Plasmodium is the name of the genus and has a number of species which show distinct morphological characteristics.
This taxonomic group composes of multiple species which have similar characteristics but different from that of species from other genus. Considering the same example of Plasmodium, it is a genus with multiple species which are similar to each other, but different from the species of other genus.
This category of taxonomy comprises of a number of genus which share some similarity among themselves. However, the number of similarities decrease compared to species and genus. For example, the genus of tiger, leopard, lion, i.e., Panthera and the genus of cats i.e., Felis are grouped together in the family Felidae.
The classification starting from order has less similarities as a result, they are categories based on aggregates of characteristics. A group of families showing somewhat few similarities forms an order. For example, the order of carnivores i.e., Carnivora includes families like Felidae and Canidae.
A group of Orders which share a few similarities form a Class. For kexample, Orders of primates and carnivores are grouped together in the Class of mammals.
This is the next level of classification where along a number of Classes are clubbed up to form one Phylum. Example – Fishes, reptiles, aves, amphibians and mammals together form the phylum of Vertebrates or Chordata.
This is the highest level of classification. We have Kingdoms like Plantae, Animalia, Fungi, Protista and Monera.
We have thus understood the taxonomical hierarchy in brief. For further understanding, join BYJU’s.
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