When most people think about animals, the first creatures that come to mind are often elephants, zebras, dolphins, or puppies. But did you know that insects such as butterflies, stick bugs, cockroaches, and bees are also animals?
In biology, scientists use a system called taxonomy to sort and classify all living things. This system was designed by Carl Linnaeus in 1735 and ranks living things into groups, with each group getting increasingly specific. These groups form the sequence:
Kingdom -> Phylum -> Class -> Order -> Family -> Genus -> Species
There are six different Kingdoms: Eubacteria & Archaeabacteria (bacteria), Protista (weird microscopic organisms), Fungi (mold, mushrooms, yeast), Plantae (plants), and of course, Animalia (animals).
The Kingdom Animalia is then split into several Phylum, including Echinodermata (starfish and sea cucumbers), Mollusca (clams, oysters, squid, octopuses, snails), Chordata (things with a spinal chord – fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals), and Arthropoda.
The Phylum Arthropods include all of our favourites here at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory and is broken down into several Classes which include Arachnida (spiders and scorpions), Diplopoda (millipedes), and Insecta (all insects!).
So for example, if you took Jenny our Malaysian Jungle Nymph and compared her scientific classification to your pet dog, you can see that they are both in the Kingdom Animalia, just different types of animals!
So happy #WorldAnimalDay to all our animal friends here at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory! On your next visit, be sure to ask our Nature Interpreters for more cool facts about our animals – we love to help you learn new things! We are open 10am – 5pm Tuesday – Sunday throughout the winter, closed Mondays after Thanksgiving.
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