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Phylum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In biology, a phylum (/falm/; 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 7. Current research in phylogenetics is uncovering the
relationships between phyla, which are contained in larger clades, like
Ecdysozoa and Embryophyta.

Contents
1 General description and familiar examples
1.1 Definition based on genetic relation
1.2 Definition based on body plan
2 Known phyla
2.1 Animal phyla
2.2 Land plant phyla (divisions)
2.3 Fungal divisions
2.4 Protista phyla (Divisions)
2.5 Bacterial phyla/divisions
2.6 Archaeal phyla/division/kingdoms
3 See also
4 Notes
5 References
6 External links

The hierarchy of
biological classification's
eight major taxonomic
ranks. A kingdom
contains one or more
phyla. Intermediate
minor rankings are not
shown.

General description and familiar examples


The definitions of zoological phyla have changed importantly 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 ('tribe' or 'stock').[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 naturesuch as how successful different body plans
were.

Definition based on genetic relation


The most important objective measure in the above definitions is the "certain degree"how unrelated do

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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


A definition of a phylum based on body plan has been proposed by paleontologists Graham Budd and Sren
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 problemsfor 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.[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. 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. Representatives of many modern phyla
did not appear until long after the Cambrian.[11]

Known phyla
Animal phyla
Protostome
Deuterostome

Bilateria

Basal/disputed
Others (Radiata or Parazoa)

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Phylum

Acanthocephala

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylum

Meaning
Thorny
headed
worms

Common
name

Distinguishing
characteristic

Reversible spiny proboscis


Thornythat bears many rows of
headed worms
hooked spines

Species described

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
1,134,000+
300-500 extant

approx. 350

Arthropoda

Jointed foot

Arthropods

Segmented bodies and


jointed limbs, with Chitin
exoskeleton

Brachiopoda

Arm foot

Lamp shells

Lophophore and pedicle

Bryozoa

Moss
animals

Lophophore, no pedicle,
Moss animals,
ciliated tentacles, anus
sea mats
outside ring of cilia

Chaetognatha

Longhair jaw Arrow worms

Chitinous spines either side


of head, fins

Chordata

With a cord

Chordates

Hollow dorsal nerve cord,


notochord, pharyngeal slits, approx. 100,000+
endostyle, post-anal tail

Cnidaria

Stinging
nettle

Anemones /
Jellyfish

Nematocysts (stinging cells) approx. 11,000

Ctenophora

Comb bearer Comb jellies

Eight "comb rows" of fused


approx. 100 extant
cilia

Cycliophora

Wheel
carrying

Symbion

Circular mouth surrounded


by small cilia, sac-like
bodies

5,000 extant

approx. 100 extant

3+

Echinodermata

Spiny skin

Echinoderms

Fivefold radial symmetry in


approx. 7,000 extant;
living forms, mesodermal
approx. 13,000 extinct
calcified spines

Entoprocta

Inside anus

Goblet worm

Anus inside ring of cilia

Gastrotricha

Hair stomach Hairybacks

approx. 150

Two terminal adhesive tubes approx. 690

Gnathostomulida Jaw orifice

Jaw worms

approx. 100

Hemichordata

Half cord

Acorn worms, Stomochord in collar,


pterobranchs pharyngeal slits

approx. 100 extant

Kinorhyncha

Motion snout Mud dragons

Eleven segments, each with


approx. 150
a dorsal plate

Loricifera

Corset bearer Brush heads

Umbrella-like scales at each


approx. 122
end

Micrognathozoa

Tiny jaw
animals

Accordion-like extensible
thorax

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Phylum

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylum

Common
name

Meaning

Distinguishing
characteristic

Species described

Mollusca

Soft

Mollusks /
molluscs

Muscular foot and mantle


round shell

Nematoda

Thread like

Round worms

Round cross section, keratin


25,0001,000,000[13][14]
cuticle

Nematomorpha

Thread form

Horsehair
worms

Nemertea

A sea nymph Ribbon worms

Onychophora

Claw bearer

Orthonectida

Straight
swim

Phoronida

Zeus's
mistress

Velvet worms

112,000[12]

approx. 320
approx. 1,200
Legs tipped by chitinous
claws

approx. 200 extant

Single layer of ciliated cells


surrounding a mass of sex
approx. 20
cells
Horseshoe
worms

U-shaped gut

11

Differentiated top and


bottom surfaces, two ciliated
1
cell layers, amoeboid fiber
cells in between

Placozoa

Plate animals

Platyhelminthes

Flat worm

Flatworms

Porifera*

Pore bearer

Sponges

Priapulida

Little Priapus

Rhombozoa

Lozenge
animal

Rotifera

Wheel bearer Rotifers

Anterior crown of cilia

approx. 2,000

Sipuncula

Small tube

Peanut worms

Mouth surrounded by
invertible tentacles

144320

Tardigrada

Slow step

Water bears

Four segmented body and


head

1,000+

Xenacoelomorpha

Strange
flatworm

Ciliated deuterostome

approx. 25,000[15]
Perforated interior wall

5,000+ extant
approx. 16

Total: 35

Single anteroposterior axial


cell surrounded by ciliated 75
cells

2,000,000+

Land plant phyla (divisions)


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
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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

Anthocerotophyta[19] Anthoceros-like plants


Bryophyta[20]

Bryum-like plants, moss


plants

Common name

Distinguishing characteristics

hornworts

horn-shaped sporophytes, no
vascular system

mosses

persistent unbranched sporophytes,


no vascular system

liverworts

ephemeral unbranched sporophytes,


no vascular system

clubmosses &
spikemosses

microphyll leaves, vascular system

ferns & horsetails

prothallus gametophytes, vascular


system

conifers

cones containing seeds and wood


composed of tracheids

Marchantiophyta,[21] Marchantia-like plants


Hepatophyta[20]

liver plants

Lycopodiophyta,[17] Lycopodium-like plants


Lycophyta[22]

"wolf" plants

Pteridophyta

Pteris-like plants, fern


plants

Pinophyta,

Pinus-like plants

Coniferophyta[23]

cone-bearing plants

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
1. Chytridiomycota
2. Blastocladiomycota
3. Zygomycota
4. Glomeromycota
5. Ascomycota
6. Basidiomycota
7. Microsporidia
8. Neocallimastigomycota

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Protista phyla (Divisions)


Group
Description

Phylum[27]

Rhizopoda
Heterotrophs (no
locomotor
Actinopoda
apparatus)

Photosynthetic
protists

Non-motile
spore-formers
Heterotrophs
(restricted
mobility)

Distinguishing
characteristics

Example

root-foot[28]

Amoeba

Amoeboids have the


ability to change their
shape.

Amoeba

ray-foot

-------

long, thin axopodia

Radiolarians

Foraminifera

hole bearers Forams

Complex shells with


Forams
one or more chambers

Dinoflagellata

whirling
scourge

Dinoflagellates

Unicellular, have two


dissimilar flagella

Euglenophyta

Good-eyed
plant

Euglenids

Have a pellicle, which


Euglena
gives shape to the cell.

Chrysophyta

golden plant golden algae

Rhodophyta

Phaeophyta

Heterotrophs
(flagella)

Common
name

Meaning

rose plant

gray plant

Red tides

Diatoma

red algae

Cells do not have


flagella or centrioles;
use phycobiliproteins
which gives red tint

Coralline
Algae

brown algae

chloroplasts
surrounded by four
membranes - form
differentiated tissues

Kelp

Sarcomastigophora

Trypanosoma
cruzi

Ciliophora

Paramecium

Apicomplexa

Plasmodium

Oomycota

Water Molds

Acrasiomycota

Dictyostelium

Myxomycota

Fuligo

Total: 14

Bacterial phyla/divisions
Currently there are 29 phyla accepted by List of Prokaryotic names with Standing in Nomenclature
(LPSN)[29]
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, green sulphur bacteria

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8. Chloroflexi, green non-sulphur bacteria


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
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
Cladistics
Phylogenetics
Systematics
Taxonomy

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

References
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

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frequently called divisions."


2. Berg, Linda R. (2 March 2007). Introductory
Botany: Plants, People, and the Environment (2
ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 15.
ISBN 9780534466695. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
3. Collins AG, Valentine JW (2001). "Defining phyla:
evolutionary pathways to metazoan body plans."
(http://si-pddr.si.edu/jspui/bitstream/10088/7403/1
/Collins_Valentine_EvDev2001.pdf) 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
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. Budd, G.E.; Jensen, S. (May 2000). "A critical
reappraisal of the fossil record of the bilaterian
phyla". Biological Reviews. 75 (2): 253295.
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): 5580. doi:10.1006/zjls.2000.0263.
9. Pawlowski J, Montoya-Burgos JI, Fahrni JF, West
J, Zaninetti L (October 1996). "Origin of the
Mesozoa inferred from 18S rRNA gene sequences".
Mol. Biol. Evol. 13 (8): 112832.
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): 197210.
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)): 94112.
doi:10.1666/0094-8373(2005)031[0094:WSSSGA]
2.0.CO;2.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylum

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: 6395.
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): 511. 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. Cronquist, A.; A. Takhtajan; W. Zimmermann
(1966). "On the higher taxa of Embryobionta".
Taxon. International Association for Plant
Taxonomy (IAPT). 15 (15): 129134.
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): 122127,
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. 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. http://www.memidex.com/rhizopoda
29. J.P. Euzby. "List of Prokaryotic names with
Standing in Nomenclature: Phyla". Retrieved
2010-12-30.

External links
Are phyla "real"? Is there really a well-defined "number of
animal phyla" extant and in the fossil record?
(http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/04
/down_with_phyla_1.html)

Look up Phylum in
Wiktionary, the free
dictionary.

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Major Phyla Of Animals (http://waynesword.palomar.edu/trnov01.htm)


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