The Six Kingdoms by Veritas Prep
There are countless organisms in the world and the scientific classification system was put in place to group together species that share common characteristics. This classification system is rooted in the work of Carolus Linnaeus, who is known as the father of modern taxonomy. The scientific classification system in biology consists of seven different groups or rankings. These rankings include kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. When talking about scientific classification, one will notice that all of the scientific names and terms are written in Latin. The idea to use Latin belonged to Carolus Linnaeus, and the thought was that Latin terms would mean the same thing to scientists all around the world whereas common names are different in different languages and would cause confusion. This article will focus in the kingdom section of the scientific classification system. There are six kingdoms including plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaebacteria, and eubacteria.
Animal Kingdom The animal kingdom (Animalia in Latin) is the largest of all of the six kingdoms and is made up or more than one million species. Members of the animal kingdom are characterized by their ability to obtain energy from eating food. All species in the animal kingdom are also multicellular and the cells of the species in this kingdom have a nucleus but no chloroplasts or cell wall. Examples of species within the animal kingdom would include all mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and more.
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Plant Kingdom The plant kingdom (Plantae in Latin) is the second largest of all the kingdoms with more than 250,000 species. The plant kingdom includes all types of plants including mosses, flowering plants, and ferns. Species in the plant kingdom consist of complex cells and are multicellular. Species within this kingdom are also autotrophs, meaning that they produce their own food. Some examples of species within the plant kingdom include trees, flowers, and even fruits and vegetables.
Archaebacteria The archaebacteria kingdom (Archaebacterium in Latin) is made up of single-celled organisms and the name of the kingdom means “ancient bacteria.” Scientists actually believe that members of the archaebacteria kingdom were among the first life forms on Earth billions of years ago. These species lack cell structure and their genetic material is not contained inside of a nucleus. The cells of archaebacteria are called prokaryotes. Archaebacteria are known to be found in extreme environments including those that are very hot, those with no oxygen, and those that are highly acidic. Archaebacteria are separated from eubacteria because their cell structure is so different.
Eubacteria The eubacteria kingdom (Eubacterium in Latin) is made up of single-celled organisms and just like the archaebacteria, the species in this kingdom are lacking a nuclear membrane. The species within this kingdom vary as some have the ability to make their own food and others must find their food. Eubacteria can reproduce very quickly by dividing in two. Depending on the species of eubacteria, they can be beneficial or harmful to humans and other organisms. Some examples of species within the eubacteria kingdom include Streptococci, which causes strep throat, as well as the bacteria that produces yogurt and some types of vitamins.
Fungi The fungi kingdom (Fungi in Latin) is made up of multicellular organisms as well as some single-celled organisms. Members of the fungi kingdom reproduce by spores and have cell walls surrounding their cells, similar to plants but with the cell walls being made of different materials. Members of the fungi kingdom also differ from plants because they are unable to produce their own food and instead must feed on dead or living organisms. Many species of fungi are considered to be decomposers in the food chain. Examples of fungi include yeast, mushrooms, and some molds.
Protists The protist kingdom (Protista in Latin) is made up of mostly single-celled organisms but does include some multicellular organisms that lack a complex structure. Cells of protist organisms do contain a nucleus. This kingdom is made up of species that do not really easily fit into other kingdoms such as the plant, animal, and fungi kingdom. Some protists, such as the paramecium and amoeba, feed on other organisms while others such as algae are able to make their own food through the process of photosynthesis.