The 5 Kingdom Classification System

How we have structured our species list

The aim of this short article is to detail the 5 Kingdom Classification System in simple terms and explain why we have used it. There are a good number of websites and articles available online for those wanting more information, including details of alternative but similar forms of classification.

The 5 Kingdom system recognises 5 overarching types of life forms;

Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista and Monera

Each kingdom is subdivided into smaller and smaller groups of more and more closely related species. For example take the Common Blackbird. We all know it’s an animal, so along with every other animal on the planet it has been grouped into the Kingdom Animalia.

The animal kingdom is then subdivided into 7 phylum as follows.

Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, Annelida, Mollusca, Athropoda and Chordata

Only animals with a backbone will be found in phylum Chordata, which is where our blackbird resides, birds having a backbone just like humans (also Chordata). But clearly birds and humans are not the same, and so it is that each phylum is subdivided again into Classes and now humans and birds part company. Humans fall into the class mammalian, where as our Blackbird finds itself grouped with all other birds in the Class Aves.

As we know birds come in all shapes and sizes and clearly have evolved in many different ways and not all are as closely related as others. So it is that class Aves is further subdivided into Orders and here our blackbird now sits with the order Passeriformes (passerine birds) and if you look this up online you will start to see that it mainly includes birds that have a passing resemblance to blackbirds. Although I’m not suggesting resemblance (or phenotype), necessarily mean species are closely related.

But still there is further subdividing we can do and beneath the Order Passeriformes are a number of more closely related species divided into Families. In this case the family Turdidae. At the time of writing this article our species list contains two representatives of this family, blackbirds and song thrush.

And this holds true further because before we drill right down to species we have one more layer, Genus. Now as we all know the Latin name for any species is unique to that species and comprises (most the time) to two names. The first is the Genus name and here both the Blackbird and Song Thrush share the same Genus (first) name, the not very apt Turdus. However the second name relates specifically to the individual species and it is the combination of these two Latin names that is specific to the species. In this case Blackbirds are Turdus merula while Song Thrush are Turdus philomelos. Note Latin names are nearly always written in italics and the species (second name) never starts with a capital letter.

So here it is, the blackbird classification in full…

Animalia (Kingdom), Chordata (Phylum) , Aves (Class), Passeriformes (Order), Turdidae (Family), Turdus (Genus), merula (Species) – Blackbird

Every species, in every Kingdom is classified in a similar way. Our species list follows this structure. Each of the 5 kingdoms is typed in bold. Beneath which are a number of separate species lists that each begin at the Phylum / Class level subtitle, so for example the second list beneath Kingdom Animalia is Athropoda / Arachnida, below which are all the Class Arachnida (spiders and mites) found to date in our garden. They are listed in alphabetical order of the Order first, then Family (given in brackets) followed by the Genus / Species Latin names. Common names, where one exists, are given at the beginning but do not influence the order listed.

MLS, stands for ‘most likely species’ where there is any uncertainty.

The list is far from complete.

DC – 19th September 2021