Q:

What groups do biological species consist of?

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Quick Answer

Traditional biological taxonomy schemes divide species into seven nested categories called the kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species. The genus and species names of an organism are usually considered the organism's scientific name.

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Full Answer

The group terms describing a biological species are ordered from general properties of different types of life to specific species that are limited to breeding with one another or very closely related species. For example, the kingdom grouping separates animals from plants, bacteria and fungi, while the slightly more specific phylum grouping within the animal kingdom separates animals with spinal cords from invertebrates. At the genus level, organisms within the same genus are usually closely related and similar in nature, such as the large cats that are members of the Panthera genus.

Some species are further subdivided into subspecies that are referred to with an additional identifier after the genus and the species name. For example, the African leopard and the Indian leopard are both part of the Panthera pardus species, but African leopards are specifically identified as Panthera pardus pardus, while Indian leopards are referred to as Panthera pardus fusca. Most subspecies arise from minor population variations in specific geographic areas and are almost always able to reproduce with members of the same species.

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