Scientific Classifications explained    Amphibians
  » Amphibians
  » Ants

  » Aphids

  » Bees

  » Beetles

  » Birds

  » Bugs

  » Butterflies

  » Caterpillars

  » Damselflies

  » Dragonflies

  » Earwigs

  » Flies

  » Frog/Leafhoppers

  » Fungi

  » Galls

  » Grasshoppers

  » Harvestmen

  » Hoverflies

  » Lacewings

  » Ladybirds

  » Leaf Mines

  » Lichens

  » Mammals

  » Millipedes

  » Mosses

  » Moths

  » Sawflies

  » Slugs

  » Snails

  » Spiders

  » Trees

  » Wasps

  » Wild Flowers

  » Woodlice

UK Nature > Scientific Classifications explained


In the 18th century, Carl Linnaeus published a system for classifying living things, which has been developed into the modern classification system. People have always given names to things that they see, including plants and animals, but Linnaeus was the first scientist to develop a hierarchal naming structure that conveyed information both about what the species was (its name) and also its closest relatives. The ability of the Linnean system to convey complex relationships to scientists throughout the world is why it has been so widely adopted.

Despite existing for hundreds of years, the science of classification is far from dead. Classification of many species, old and new, continues to be hotly disputed as scientists find new information or interpret facts in new ways. Arguments are fierce and species do change names, but only after a wealth of information has been gathered to support such a big step. One of the new reasons why species are being re-evaluated is because of DNA analysis. Basic genetic analysis information can change our ideas of how closely two species are related and so their classification can change, but how does the whole system work?

The first rank in this system is called a kingdom. There are five kingdoms (some scientists want a sixth to be included - viruses), based upon what an organism's cells are like:

• animalia (all multicellular animals)
• plantae (all green plants)
• fungi (moulds, mushrooms, yeast)
• prokaryotae (bacteria, blue-green algae)
• protoctista (amoeba, paramecium).

Further divisions
There are several further ranks before we reach a particular species. In order, these are:

• kingdom
• phylum
• class
• order
• family
• genus
• species

For example, Sympetrum striolatum, the Common Darter dragonfly, has the following classification:

• Kingdom - Animalia
• Phylum - Arthropoda
• Class - Insecta
• Order - Odonata
• Suborder - Anisoptera
• Family - Libellulidae
• Genus - Sympetrum
• Species - S.striolatum

Being able to classify species is important as it allows us to accurately identify individual species wherever they are. For example - a robin in America isn’t the same as a robin in the UK, so by using the binomial name Turdus migratorius (American robin) or Erithacus rubecula (UK robin) then there is no confusion.

Binomial classification is important because it can:

• clearly identify species
• study and conserve species
• target conservation efforts
 is a website dedicated to showing the immense diversity of UK nature and wildlife. Our vast range of habitats, from lowland arable to snow covered mountains, from storm-ravaged coastlines to peaceful inland freshwater lakes and rivers, from dry, sandy heaths to deciduous and coniferous forests, all these habitats contribute to the abundance of UK nature. We have wild birds in huge numbers either residing or visiting our shores (597 recorded species as at July 2013) and we must also not forget the humble back garden with its grass lawns, flower beds filled with nectar rich flowers, shrubs and trees, all designed to attract huge numbers of insects such as bees, moths, butterflies and hoverflies; and finally the small ponds which provide safe havens for frogs, toads, newts and even slow worms and grass snakes. is the showcase for my personal passion, photographing uknature in all its glory. I sincerely hope you all enjoy the fruits of my labours.

This site and all images contained therein is © Jeremy Lee 2004 - 2021. All Rights Reserved. Site design by Jeremy Lee. Site development & IT Support by Stuart Lee.