Phylum

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For other uses, see Phyla.
Life Domain Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species
The hierarchy of biological classification's eight major taxonomic ranks. A kingdom contains one or more phyla. Intermediate minor rankings are not shown.

In biology, a phylum (/ˈfləm/; plural: phyla)[note 1] is a taxonomic rank below kingdom and above class. Traditionally, in botany the term division was used instead of "phylum", although from 1993 the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants accepted the designation "phylum".[1][2] The kingdom Animalia contains approximately 35 phyla, Plantae contains 12, and Fungi contains 6.[citation needed] Current research in phylogenetics is uncovering the relationships between phyla, which are contained in larger clades, like Ecdysozoa and Embryophyta.

General description and familiar examples[edit]

The definitions of zoological phyla have changed importantly[clarification needed] from their origins in the six Linnaean classes and the four "embranchements" of Georges Cuvier.[3] Haeckel introduced the term phylum, based on the Greek word phylon.[4] In plant taxonomy, Eichler (1883) classified plants into five groups, named divisions.[5]

Informally, phyla can be thought of as grouping organisms based on general specialization of body plan.[6] At its most basic, a phylum can be defined in two ways: as a group of organisms with a certain degree of morphological or developmental similarity (the phenetic definition), or a group of organisms with a certain degree of evolutionary relatedness (the phylogenetic definition).[7] Attempting to define a level of the Linnean hierarchy without referring to (evolutionary) relatedness is unsatisfactory, but a phenetic definition is useful when addressing questions of a morphological nature—such as how successful different body plans were.

Definition based on genetic relation[edit]

The most important objective measure in the above definitions is the "certain degree"—how unrelated do organisms need to be to be members of different phyla? The minimal requirement is that all organisms in a phylum should be clearly more closely related to one another than to any other group.[7] Even this is problematic because the requirement depends on knowledge of organisms' relationships: as more data become available, particularly from molecular studies, we are better able to judge the relationships between groups. So phyla can be merged or split if it becomes apparent that they are related to one another or not. For example, the bearded worms were described as a new phylum (the Pogonophora) in the middle of the 20th century, but molecular work almost half a century later found them to be a group of annelids, so the phyla were merged (the bearded worms are now an annelid family).[8] On the other hand, the highly parasitic phylum Mesozoa was divided into two phyla, Orthonectida and Rhombozoa, when it was discovered the Orthonectida are probably deuterostomes and the Rhombozoa protostomes.[9]

This changeability of phyla has led some biologists to call for the concept of a phylum to be abandoned in favour of cladistics, a method in which groups are placed on a "family tree" without any formal ranking of group size.[7]

Definition based on body plan[edit]

A definition of a phylum based on body plan has been proposed by paleontologists Graham Budd and Sören Jensen (as Haeckel had done a century earlier). The definition was posited because extinct organisms are hardest to classify: they can be offshoots that diverged from a phylum's line before the characters that define the modern phylum were all acquired. By Budd and Jensen's definition, a phylum is defined by a set of characters shared by all its living representatives.

This approach brings some small problems—for instance, ancestral characters common to most members of a phylum may have been lost by some members. Also, this definition is based on an arbitrary point of time: the present. However, as it is character based, it is easy to apply to the fossil record. A greater problem is that it relies on a subjective decision about which groups of organisms should be considered as phyla.

The approach is useful because it makes it easy to classify extinct organisms as "stem groups" to the phyla with which they bear the most resemblance, based only on the taxonomically important similarities.[7] However, proving that a fossil belongs to the crown group of a phylum is difficult, as it must display a character unique to a sub-set of the crown group.[clarification needed][7] Furthermore, organisms in the stem group of a phylum can possess the "body plan" of the phylum without all the characteristics necessary to fall within it.[clarification needed] This weakens the idea that each of the phyla represents a distinct body plan.[10]

A classification using this definition may be strongly affected by the chance survival of rare groups, which can make a phylum much more diverse than it would be otherwise[clarification needed]. Representatives of many modern phyla did not appear until long after the Cambrian.[clarification needed][11]

Known phyla[edit]

Animal phyla[edit]

Protostome Bilateria
Deuterostome
Basal/disputed
Others (Radiata or Parazoa)


Phylum Meaning Common name Distinguishing characteristic Species described
Acanthocephala Thorny headed worms Thorny-headed worms Reversible spiny proboscis that bears many rows of hooked spines approx. 1,100
Acoelomorpha Without gut Acoels No mouth or alimentary canal (alimentary canal = digestive tract in digestive system)
Annelida Little ring Annelids Multiple circular segment 17,000+ extant
Arthropoda Jointed foot Arthropods Segmented bodies and jointed limbs, with Chitin exoskeleton 1,134,000+
Brachiopoda Arm foot Lamp shells Lophophore and pedicle 300-500 extant
Bryozoa Moss animals Moss animals, sea mats Lophophore, no pedicle, ciliated tentacles, anus outside ring of cilia 5,000 extant
Chaetognatha Longhair jaw Arrow worms Chitinous spines either side of head, fins approx. 100 extant
Chordata With a cord Chordates Hollow dorsal nerve cord, notochord, pharyngeal slits, endostyle, post-anal tail approx. 100,000+
Cnidaria Stinging nettle Nematocysts (stinging cells) approx. 11,000
Ctenophora Comb bearer Comb jellies Eight "comb rows" of fused cilia approx. 100 extant
Cycliophora Wheel carrying Symbion Circular mouth surrounded by small cilia, sac-like bodies 3+
Echinodermata Spiny skin Echinoderms Fivefold radial symmetry in living forms, mesodermal calcified spines approx. 7,000 extant; approx. 13,000 extinct
Entoprocta Inside anus Goblet worm Anus inside ring of cilia approx. 150
Gastrotricha Hair stomach Two terminal adhesive tubes approx. 690
Gnathostomulida Jaw orifice Jaw worms approx. 100
Hemichordata Half cord Acorn worms, pterobranchs Stomochord in collar, pharyngeal slits approx. 100 extant
Kinorhyncha Motion snout Mud dragons Eleven segments, each with a dorsal plate approx. 150
Loricifera Corset bearer Brush heads Umbrella-like scales at each end approx. 122
Micrognathozoa Tiny jaw animals Accordion-like extensible thorax 1
Mollusca Soft Mollusks / molluscs Muscular foot and mantle round shell 112,000[12]
Nematoda Thread like Round worms Round cross section, keratin cuticle 25,000–1,000,000[13][14]
Nematomorpha Thread form Horsehair worms approx. 320
Nemertea A sea nymph Ribbon worms approx. 1,200
Onychophora Claw bearer Velvet worms Legs tipped by chitinous claws approx. 200 extant
Orthonectida Straight swim Single layer of ciliated cells surrounding a mass of sex cells approx. 20
Phoronida Zeus's mistress Horseshoe worms U-shaped gut 11
Placozoa Plate animals Differentiated top and bottom surfaces, two ciliated cell layers, amoeboid fiber cells in between 1
Platyhelminthes Flat worm Flatworms approx. 25,000[15]
Porifera* Pore bearer Sponges Perforated interior wall 5,000+ extant
Priapulida Little Priapus approx. 16
Rhombozoa Lozenge animal Single anteroposterior axial cell surrounded by ciliated cells 75
Rotifera Wheel bearer Rotifers Anterior crown of cilia approx. 2,000
Sipuncula Small tube Peanut worms Mouth surrounded by invertible tentacles 144–320
Tardigrada Slow step Water bears Four segmented body and head 1,000+
Xenoturbellida Strange flatworm Ciliated deuterostome 2
Total: 35 2,000,000+


Land plant phyla (divisions)[edit]

The ten Divisions into which the living embryophytes (land plants) are often placed are shown in the table below. To these may be added two algal Divisions, Chlorophyta and Charophyta, which are included with land plants in the clade Viridiplantae (see also current definitions of Plantae). The definition and classification of plants at this level varies from source to source and has changed progressively in recent years. Thus some sources place horsetails in division Arthrophyta and ferns in division Pteridophyta,[16] while others place them both in Pteridophyta, as shown below. The division Pinophyta may be used for all gymnosperms (i.e. including cycads, ginkgos and gnetophytes),[17] or for conifers alone as below.

Since the first publication of the APG system in 1998, which proposed a classification of angiosperms up to the level of orders, many sources have preferred to treat ranks higher than orders as informal clades. Where formal ranks have been provided, the traditional divisions listed below have been reduced to a very much lower level, e.g. subclasses.[18]

Division Meaning Common name Distinguishing characteristics
Anthocerotophyta[19] Anthoceros-like plants hornworts horn-shaped sporophytes, no vascular system
Bryophyta[20] Bryum-like plants, moss plants mosses persistent unbranched sporophytes, no vascular system
Marchantiophyta,[21]

Hepatophyta[20]

Marchantia-like plants

liver plants

liverworts ephemeral unbranched sporophytes, no vascular system
Lycopodiophyta,[17]

Lycophyta[22]

Lycopodium-like plants

"wolf" plants

clubmosses & spikemosses microphyll leaves, vascular system
Pteridophyta[citation needed] Pteris-like plants, fern plants ferns & horsetails prothallus gametophytes, vascular system
Pinophyta,[citation needed]

Coniferophyta[23]

Pinus-like plants

cone-bearing plants

conifers cones containing seeds and wood composed of tracheids
Cycadophyta[24] Cycas-like plants, palm-like plants cycads seeds, crown of compound leaves
Ginkgophyta[25] Ginkgo-like plants ginkgo, Maidenhair tree seeds not protected by fruit (single living species)
Gnetophyta[26] Gnetum-like plants gnetophytes seeds and woody vascular system with vessels
Magnoliophyta Magnolia-like plants flowering plants, angiosperms flowers and fruit, vascular system with vessels
Total: 10

Fungal divisions[edit]

Main article: Fungi

Protista phyla (Divisions)[edit]

Group Description Phylum[27] Meaning Common name Distinguishing characteristics Example
Heterotrophs (no locomotor apparatus) Rhizopoda Amoeba
Actinopoda Radiolarians
Foraminifera Forams
Photosynthetic protists Pyrrhophyta Red tides
Euglenophyta Euglena
Chrysophyta Diatoma
Rhodophyta Coralline Algae
Phaeophyta Kelp
Heterotrophs (flagella) Sarcomastigophora Trypanosoma cruzi
Ciliophora Paramecium
Non-motile spore-formers Apicomplexa Plasmodium
Heterotrophs (restricted mobility) Oomycota Water Molds
Acrasiomycota Dictyostelium
Myxomycota Fuligo
Total: 14

Bacterial phyla/divisions[edit]

Main article: Bacterial phyla

Currently there are 29 phyla accepted by List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature (LPSN)[28]

  1. Acidobacteria, phenotipically diverse and mostly uncultured
  2. Actinobacteria, High-G+C Gram positive species
  3. Aquificae, only 14 thermophilic genera, deep branching
  4. Bacteroidetes
  5. Caldiserica, formerly candidate division OP5, Caldisericum exile is the sole representative
  6. Chlamydiae, only 6 genera
  7. Chlorobi, only 7 genera
  8. Chloroflexi,
  9. Chrysiogenetes, only 3 genera (Chrysiogenes arsenatis, Desulfurispira natronophila, Desulfurispirillum alkaliphilum)
  10. Cyanobacteria, also known as the blue-green algae
  11. Deferribacteres
  12. Deinococcus-Thermus, Deinococcus radiodurans and Thermus aquaticus are "commonly known" species of this phyla
  13. Dictyoglomi
  14. Elusimicrobia, formerly candidate division Thermite Group 1
  15. Fibrobacteres
  16. Firmicutes, Low-G+C Gram positive species, such as the spore-formers Bacilli (aerobic) and Clostridia (anaerobic)
  17. Fusobacteria
  18. Gemmatimonadetes
  19. Lentisphaerae, formerly clade VadinBE97
  20. Nitrospira
  21. Planctomycetes
  22. Proteobacteria, the most known phyla, containing species such as Escherichia coli or Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  23. Spirochaetes, species include Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease
  24. Synergistetes
  25. Tenericutes, alternatively class Mollicutes in phylum Firmicutes (notable genus: Mycoplasma)
  26. Thermodesulfobacteria
  27. Thermomicrobia
  28. Thermotogae, deep branching
  29. Verrucomicrobia

Archaeal phyla/division/kingdoms[edit]

  1. Crenarchaeota, Second most common archaeal phylum
  2. Euryarchaeota, most common archaeal phylum
  3. Korarchaeota
  4. Nanoarchaeota, ultra-small symbiotes, single known species
  5. Thaumarchaeota

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The term was coined by Haeckel from Greek φῦλον phylon, "race, stock," related to φυλή phyle, "tribe, clan."

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Life sciences". The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (third ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company. 2005. Retrieved 2008-10-04. Phyla in the plant kingdom are frequently called divisions. 
  2. ^ Berg, Linda R. (2007-03-02). Introductory Botany: Plants, People, and the Environment (2 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 15. ISBN 9780534466695. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Collins AG, Valentine JW (2001). "Defining phyla: evolutionary pathways to metazoan body plans." Evol. Dev. 3: 432-442.
  4. ^ Valentine 2004, p. 8.
  5. ^ Naik, V.N. (1984). Taxonomy of Angiosperms. Tata McGraw-Hill. p. 27. ISBN 9780074517888. 
  6. ^ Valentine, James W. (2004). On the Origin of Phyla. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-226-84548-6. Classifications of organisms in hierarchical systems were in use by the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Usually organisms were grouped according to their what? morphological similarities as perceived by those early workers, and those groups were then grouped according to their similarities, and so on, to form a hierarchy. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Budd, G.E.; Jensen, S. (2000). "A critical reappraisal of the fossil record of the bilaterian phyla". Biological Reviews 75 (2): 253–295. doi:10.1111/j.1469-185X.1999.tb00046.x. PMID 10881389. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 
  8. ^ Rouse G.W. (2001). "A cladistic analysis of Siboglinidae Caullery, 1914 (Polychaeta, Annelida): formerly the phyla Pogonophora and Vestimentifera". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 132 (1): 55–80. doi:10.1006/zjls.2000.0263. 
  9. ^ Pawlowski J, Montoya-Burgos JI, Fahrni JF, Wüest J, Zaninetti L (October 1996). "Origin of the Mesozoa inferred from 18S rRNA gene sequences". Mol. Biol. Evol. 13 (8): 1128–32. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025675. PMID 8865666. 
  10. ^ Budd, G. E. (1998). "Arthropod body-plan evolution in the Cambrian with an example from anomalocaridid muscle". Lethaia (Blackwell Synergy) 31 (3): 197–210. doi:10.1111/j.1502-3931.1998.tb00508.x. 
  11. ^ Briggs, D. E. G.; Fortey, R. A. (2005). "Wonderful strife: systematics, stem groups, and the phylogenetic signal of the Cambrian radiation". Paleobiology 31 (2 (Suppl)): 94–112. doi:10.1666/0094-8373(2005)031[0094:WSSSGA]2.0.CO;2. 
  12. ^ Feldkamp, S. (2002) Modern Biology. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, USA. (pp. 725)
  13. ^ Hodda, M (2011). "Phylum Nematoda Cobb, 1932. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness". Zootaxa 3148: 63–95. 
  14. ^ Zhang, Z (2013). "Animal biodiversity: An update of classification and diversity in 2013. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal Biodiversity: An Outline of Higher-level Classification and Survey of Taxonomic Richness (Addenda 2013)". Zootaxa 3703 (1): 5–11. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3703.1.3. 
  15. ^ Species Register. "Flatworms — Phylum Platyhelminthes". Marine Discovery Centres. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  16. ^ Mauseth 2012, pp. 514, 517.
  17. ^ a b Cronquist, A.; A. Takhtajan; W. Zimmermann (1966). "On the higher taxa of Embryobionta". Taxon (International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT)) 15 (15): 129–134. doi:10.2307/1217531. JSTOR 1217531. 
  18. ^ Chase, Mark W. & Reveal, James L. (2009), "A phylogenetic classification of the land plants to accompany APG III", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 122–127, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.01002.x 
  19. ^ Mauseth, James D. (2012). Botany : An Introduction to Plant Biology (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. ISBN 978-1-4496-6580-7.  p. 489
  20. ^ a b Mauseth 2012, p. 489.
  21. ^ Crandall-Stotler, Barbara; Stotler, Raymond E. (2000). "Morphology and classification of the Marchantiophyta". In A. Jonathan Shaw & Bernard Goffinet (Eds.). Bryophyte Biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-521-66097-1. 
  22. ^ Mauseth 2012, p. 509.
  23. ^ Mauseth 2012, p. 535.
  24. ^ Mauseth 2012, p. 540.
  25. ^ Mauseth 2012, p. 542.
  26. ^ Mauseth 2012, p. 543.
  27. ^ http://www.nicholls.edu/biol-ds/Biol156/Lectures/Protista.pdf
  28. ^ J.P. Euzéby. "List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature: Phyla". Retrieved 30 December 2010. 

External links[edit]