To date we have recorded animals associated with the 4 following phyla. The arthropoda, the annelida, the mollusca and the chordata. We have also found numerous nematodes (round worms), which have their own phyla but currently we are unable to identify them…

The most diverse phylum on the planet. Includes spiders and insects. Very well represented in the Garden.

An abundant phylum that includes the earth worms. Under recorded in the Garden.

The slugs and snails of the Garden. An interesting and often persecuted group of animals.

The backboned animals, having a notochord defines this group of animals to which we ourselves belong.

Each phyla differs from the others in a very specific way. For example, Chordata contain the animal species with a backbone, often referred to as Vertebrates for this reason (the word vertebrate refers to the bones of the spine). It is the only phyla to contain Vertebrates and as such all other phyla contain animals lacking a backbone, often referred to as Invertebrates. So in the above phyla the annelids, arthropods and molluscs are all Invertebrates.

The way we classify animals has changed considerably in recent decades and is under constant review, but for our purposes using the above categories is perfectly adequate, if slightly out of date. Classifying species is important in our understanding of how species are related to one another, to extinct ancestors and how life itself evolved. It is also useful to have an understanding of how we classify life in order to help us recognise and name species as we record them based on similar characteristics they may have.