Taxonomy – Importance, History and Development

Taxonomy – Importance, History and Development

  • Taxonomy is the process of identifying and classifying living organisms.
  • Taxonomists study organisms and identify them based on their characteristics.
  • These characteristics might be visible morphological characteristics or genetic differences.
  • The binomial naming system is the system used to name species.
  • Each species is given a name that consists of two parts.
  • The first part is the Genus to which the species belongs and the second part is the species name.
  • For example, Apis mellifera (the honey bee).
  • The honey bee belongs to the Genus Apis and has a scientific name of Apis mellifera.
  • The binomial naming system was first uniformly used by Carl Linnaeus.

Other names for (or types of) Binomial naming system include:

  • Binominal nomenclature

Biological classification

  • Biological classification is the process by which scientists group living organisms.
  • Organisms are classified based on how similar they are.
  • Historically, similarity was determined by examining the physical characteristics of an organism but modern classification uses a variety of techniques including genetic analysis.
  • Organisms are classified according to a system of seven ranks:

BIOTYPE

  • A group of organisms having the same or nearly the same genotype, such as a particular strain of an insect species.

SUB-SPECIES

  • A sub-division of a species, usually inhabiting a particular area: visibly different from other populations of the same species but still able to interbreed with them.
  • A subspecies is further division of a species based on minor but constant differences in structure, appearance or biology.
  • Individuals in different subspecies will be morphologically or genetically different from one another but still capable of interbreeding and producing viable offspring.

SPECIES

  • The basic unit of living things, consisting of a group of individuals which all look more or less alike and which can all breed with each other to produce another generation of similar creatures.
  • Species is one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms.
  • A species can be defined as a group of organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring.
  • Historically speaking, species are described by taxonomists and what’s called a Type specimen is catalogued and kept in a museum or other collection where scientists can access it.
  • The Type specimen can be compared with other specimens to determine if they belong to the same species.
  • In modern taxonomy scientists now consider a species to be a group of evolving organisms and have moved away from the idea of a historical Type specimen representing the form of a species.

GENUS

  • A group of closely related species (plural: genera).
  • The name of the genus is incorporated into the scientific names of all the member species : Pieris napi and Pieris rapae, for example, both belong to the genus Pieris.
  • Genus is one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms.
  • Genus is positioned after Family and before Species.

1. Kingdom

2. Phylum

3. Class

4. Order

5. Family

6. Genus

7. Species

FAMILY

  • A taxonomic subdivision of an order, suborder, or superfamily that contains a group of related subfamilies, tribes and genera.
  • Family names always end in -idae.

ORDER

  • A subdivision of a class or subclass containing a group of related families.
  • Order is one of the seven taxonomic ranks used to classify living organisms.
  • Order is positioned after Class and before Family.

1. Kingdom

2. Phylum

3. Class

4. Order

5. Family

6. Genus

7. Species

  • There are 29 insect Orders although, like much of biological classification, this is still being discussed and changed by scientists.

 

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