General Articles Right AboutRight Introduction to Classification

Article © Julian Dignall, uploaded March 29, 2011.

By way of an example lets consider the charming little African catfish Microsynodontis batesii, by following the red item from left to right in each of the alphabetically sorted columns below you can see how this one species fits into the classification structure of every living organism known to science. (i.e. Animals, Vertebrae, Fish, True Bony Fish, Siluriformes (Catfish), Mockokidae, Microsynodontis, batesii). Please note that the examples of each category given (in brackets) are not exhaustive but merely examples of the category. Entries in the Family column that do not have examples are very rarely (if ever) imported and thus do not have widespread common names.

Living Organisms Phylum Class Sub-Class Order Family Genus Species
Animals Annelids (Earthworms, Leech, Ragworms) Amphibians (Frogs, Toads, Newts) Bony Fish (Sturgeons, Garpikes) Anguilliformes (True Eels) Akysidae Acanthocleithron batesii
Bacteria Arthropods (Crustacea, Insects, Arachnids, Myriapods) Birds (Parrot, Stork, Albatross) Cartilaginous Fish (Sharks, Rays) Atheriniformes(Killifish, Livebearing Toothcarps, Rainbowfish) Amblycipitidae (Asian Banjo Catfish) Atopochilus lamerti
Fungi Coelenterates (Sea anenome, Jellyfish, Coral) Fish (Shark, Trout, Tuna) Round Mouthed Fish (Lamprey, Hagfish) Mormyriformes (Elephant Noses, Baby Whales) Amphiliidae (Loach Catfish) Brachysynodontis polli
Plants Flatworms (Planarians, Liver Fluke, Tapeworm) Mammals (Human, Whale, Rat) True Bony Fish (Carp, Cichlids, Grouper) Salmoniformes(Salmon, Trout) Ariidae (Sea Catfish) Chiloglanis  
Single-celled Organisms Molluscs (Mussel, Snail, Octopus) Reptiles (Snake, Gecko, Iguana)   Gonorhynchiformes Aspredinidae (Banjo Catfish) Euchilichthys  
  Vertebrates (Animals with backbones)     Cypriniformes(Characins, Cyprinids, Knife Fish) Astroblepidae (South American Hillstream Catfishes) Hemisynodontis  
        Siluriformes(Catfish) Auchenipteridae (Driftwood Catfish) Microsynodontis  
        Osteoglossiformes (Arowana, Freshwater Butterfly Fish) Austroglanididae (Rock Catfishes) Mochkus  
        Gasterosteiformes (Sticklebacks) Bagridae (Giraffe Catfish, Black Lancer Catfish) Synodontis  
        Syngnathiformes (Pipefish) Callichthyidae (Flag Tailed Catfish, Bronze Cory)    
        Channiformes (Snakeheads) Cetopsidae(Whale Catfish)    
        Synbranchiformes (Synbrachid Eels) Chacidae (Frog Mouth Catfish)    
        Scorpaeniformes (Sculpins) Clariidae (Walking Catfish)    
        Perciformes (Cichlids, Gobies, Gouramis) Claroteidae (Giraffe Catfish)    
        Mastacembeliformes (Spiny Eels) Cranoglanididae (Chinese Catfish)    
        Pleuronectiformes (Plaice, Sole) Diplomystidae (Dyplomystes)    
        Tetraodontiformes (Pufferfish, Triggerfish, Boxfish) Doradidae (Talking / Raphael Catfish)    
          Erethistidae(Moth Catfishes)    
          Heteropneustidae (Liver / Fossil / Stinging Catfish)    
          Ictaluridae (Bullheads, Channel Catfish)    
          Loricariidae (Suckermouth Catfish)    
          Malapteruridae (Electric Catfish)    
          Mochokidae (Upside Down Catfish, Polka Dot Catfish)    
          Pangasiidae (Iridescent Shark)    
          Pimelodidae (Tiger Shovelnose Catfish, Pimpictus)    
          Plotosidae (Eel-Tailed Catfish)    
          Schilbeidae (Butter Catfish, False Glass Catfish)    
          Siluridae (Glass Catfish, Helicopter Catfish)    
          Trichomycteridae (Parasite Catfish)    

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