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Classification of Living Things :

For a stripped down, print-friendly view of this page click HERE.

THE ("old school") 5 KINGDOMS

OK. So we have this really big group of living things that exist on earth. To divide them up, we first put them into one of five KINGDOMS. Here they are, with their defining characteristics & some examples.
(you should memorize this)

KINGDOM NAME

KEY CHARACTERISTICS

EXAMPLES

MONERA

UNICELLULAR
PROKARYOTIC

BACTERIA
BLUE-GREEN ALGAE

PROTISTA

MOSTLY UNICELLULAR
EUKARYOTIC
SOME COLONIAL

AMEBA
PARAMECIUM
EUGLENA
ALGAE

FUNGI

MOSTLY MULTICELLULAR
EUKARYOTIC
HETEROTROPHIC
SESSILE

MUSHROOMS
MOLDS & MILDEWS
YEAST (unicellular)

PLANT

MULTICELLULAR
EUKARYOTIC
AUTOTROPHIC
SESSILE
CELL WALLS made  of CELLULOSE

MOSS
FERNS
FLOWERING PLANTS
BUSHES
TREES

ANIMAL

MULTICELLULAR
EUKARYOTIC
HETEROTROPHIC
MOTILE
SPECIALIZED SENSE ORGANS

INSECTS
JELLYFISH, HYDRA
CRABS
FISH
BIRDS
LIONS,TIGERS,BEARS
(oh my !)

Yes, I know it looks like a lot to remember. But who said this wasn't going to require you to WORK ? Here are a couple generalizations that may help you keep some of that table straight :

1) only 1 Kingdom has organisms that are prokaryotic (the Moneran Kingdom)
2) For the most part, any organism that is unicellular & eukaryotic is a Protist (one exception is YEAST, a unicellular fungus)
3) Fungi have the same characteristics as Plants except that Fungi are heterotrophic & Plants are autotrophic, and their cell walls are different
4) Animals are the only motile multicellular group
5) Most of the autotrophic organism we study have chlorophyll which gives them a greenish appearance. So being "green" is an important clue --- it indicates they are autotrophic (ex: blue-green algae, algae, plants).



So, how are you doing ? Shall we try some questions to see how much of that 'Kingdom Table' has stuck to your brain ? Good idea. Let's play ...

WHAT KINGDOM IS IT ?!

For each description or example, name the kingdom it belongs in. Your choices are : animal, plant, fungi, protist or moneran. Jot down all your answers & then look at the answers.

1. one-celled organism, eukaryotic, has structures for moving
2. green, multicellular, sessile, cellulose cell walls
3. an Ameba
4. multicellular, eukaryotic cells, obtains food from its environment, flies
5. colony of eukaryotic cells, autotrophic
6. sessile, heterotrophic, multicellular
7. eukaryotic cells with cell walls composed of cellulose
8. unicellular, no nucleus visible
9. yeast
10. bacteria


If you got 7 or more of those right I'd say you're ready to go on. If not, study the table more & try the questions a second time (just a suggestion).
In any case, we need to take a closer look inside each kingdom at some of the important "phyla". A phylum is the first subgroup within a kingdom. I've outlines the "more important" phyla of each kingdom in the next table & given some examples too.
 

KINGDOM

PHYLUM

CHARACTERISTICS

EXAMPLE(S)

MONERA

blue-green algae

autotrophic

blue-green algae

 bacteria

heterotrophic

Streptococcus
Staphylococcus

 PROTIST

 algae
(plant-like)

 autotrophic

 "sea weeds"
diatoms
Spirogyra

 protozoa
(animal-like)

 heterotrophic

 Ameba
Paramecium

 FUNGI

 the thing to remember about this kingdom is that most are multicellular (mushrooms, molds, mildew) and a few are unicellular (yeast). don't worry about specific phyla names. :)

 PLANTS

 bryophyte

 nonvascular plants (small & simple)

mosses
liverworts

 tracheophyte

vascular plants

trees
flowering plants
ferns

 ANIMAL

 coelenterates

tentacles
hollow body cavity 

hydra
jellyfish

 annelids

worms with segmented bodies 

earthworm 

 arthropods

exoskeletons
jointed legs

grasshoppers
lobsters
spiders

 chordates

have a notochord (nerve chord) & usually a backbone 

humans & other mammals
birds
reptiles
amphibians 
fish

Yeah, I know, looks like alot more stuff to remember. If you haven't noticed yet, this course requires studying. No way around it.  So study the table a little & try these KINGDOM REVIEW QUESTIONS :

1) The presence of vascular tissue for transporting liquids is characteristic of :
A. ferns
B. mosses
C. slime molds
D. algae

2) Which protists contain chlorophyll (a green substance necessary for photosynthesis) ?
A. Ameba
B. algae
C. moss
D. Paramecium

3) The animal-like protists are :
A. algae
B. Annelids
C. protozoa
D. yeast

4) Euglena is a eukaryotic single-celled organism that possesses chlorophyll but has no cell wall. It also has a mouth & swims using a structure called a flagellum. It is most reasonable to classify Euglena as a :
A. plant
B. animal
C. protist
D. blue-green algae

5) Low growing plants without vascular tissues are classified as :
A. bryophytes
B. algae
C. tracheophytes
D. mushrooms

6) Two animals are the same species of they :
A. live in the same environment
B. show a very close resemblance
C. can mate & produce fertile offspring
D. eat the same foods

7) Bacteria & blue-green algae belong to which kingdom ?
A. animal
B. plant
C. fungi
D. monera

8) Which group are NOT invertebrates (animals without backbones) ?
A. coelenterates
B. chordates
C. annelids
D. arthropods

9) Which animal is correctly matched with its phylum ?
A. whale - coelenterate
B. honey bee - arthropods
C. spider - chordate
D. snake - annelid

10) Whales have hair, are warm-blooded, & nurse their young. Therefor they are classified in the same class with :
A. fish
B. lobsters
C. tigers
D. turtles

CHECK YOUR WORK !


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Classification of Living Things :THE 5 KINGDOMS

ANSWER PAGE










ANSWERS TO "WHAT KINGDOM IS IT ?"

1.protist
2. plant
3. protist
4. animal
5. protist
6. fungus
7. plant
8. moneran
9. fungus
10. moneran

<--back to "what kingdom" questions
 
 

ANSWERS TO "KINGDOM REVIEW QUESTIONS"

tHE CoRRect AnSWerS are IN GREEN

1)
A. ferns - vascular plants are classified as TRACHEOPHYTES, ferns are an example
B. mosses - are NONVASCULAR
C. slime molds - are FUNGI
D. algae - are PROTISTS

2)
A. Ameba - are animal-like protists (PROTOZOA)
B. algae - chlorophyll is a clue for photosynthesis (autotrophic nutrition), alage are the plant-like (autotrophic) protists
C. moss - are PLANTS, not protists
D. Paramecium -  are animal-like protists (PROTOZOA)

3)
A. algae - are the plant-like protists
B. Annelids - earthworms
C. protozoa - proto- (protists), -zoa (zoo = animal)
D. yeast - unicellular fungus

4)
A. plant - multicellular
B. animal - multicellular
C. protist - since it is "unicellular" it has to be either a moneran or a protist, since its "eukaryotic" Euglena is classified as a protist
D. blue-green algae - unicellular but prokaryotic (a MONERAN)

5)
A. bryophytes - ALL NONVASCULAR plants
B. algae - are PROTISTS, not plants
C. tracheophytes - are VASCULAR plants
D. mushrooms - are FUNGI

6)
A. live in the same environment
B. show a very close resemblance
C. can mate & produce fertile offspring - a definition to MEMORIZE
D. eat the same foods

7)
A. animal
B. plant
C. fungi
D. monera - a fact to MEMORIZE

8)
A. coelenterates - invertebrate (hydra, jellyfish, coral)
B. chordates - animals with nerve chords ("notochords") protected by backbones
C. annelids - invertebrate (segmented worms - earthworm)
D. arthropods - invertebrate (all INSECTS, lobsters, spiders, crabs)

9)
A. whale - coelenterate
B. honey bee - arthropods (INSECTS are one CLASS within the arthropod phylum)
C. spider - chordate
D. snake - annelid

10)
A. fish - scales, no hair, lay eggs in water, cold-blooded
B. lobsters - an INVERTEBRATE (arthropod)
C. tigers - have hair, warm-blooded, nurse young (a MAMMAL, like the whale)
D. turtles - scales, no hair, lay eggs on land, cold-blooded
 

BACK TO "KINGDOM REVIEW QUESTIONS"