Animal Species Classification

General Information

This pathfinder is designed to guide you to sources that will help you understand how animals are classified under the Linnaean system of classification, information about these animals, and how they are related to other animals.

Print Resources

If you would like to search at your local library, you may want to look under the following subject headings:

Library of Congress Classification System:
QL Zoology

Dewey Decimal Classification System:
590 Zoological Sciences

Specific Books

Biodiversity: A Reference Handbook
by Anne Becher. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 1998.

Biological Identification: The Principles and Practice of Identification Methods in Biology
by Richard J. Pankhurst. Baltimore: University Park Press, 1978.

Classification and Biology
by R. A. Crowson. London, Heinemann Educational, 1970.

Classification, Evolution, and the Nature of Biology
by Alec L. Panchen. Cambridge [England]; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

The Diversity of Living Organisms
edited by R.S.K. Barnes. Oxford; Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, 1998.

Five Kingdoms: An Illustrated Guide to the Phyla of Life on Earth
by Lynn Margulis and Karlene V. Schwartz. San Francisco : W.H. Freeman, 1982.

The Phylogenetic System: The Systematization of Organisms on the Basis of their Phylogenesis
by Peter Ax; translated by R.P.S. Jefferies. Chichester [West Sussex]; New York: Wiley, 1987.

Synopsis and Classification of Living Organisms
by Sybil P. Parker, editor in chief. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982.

Internet Resources

If you already know the scientific name of the animal you are interested in and simply want to find out more about it, you might want to try performing an Internet Search. The Zoology section of the Ready Reference Collection at the IPL contains more sites dedicated to specific animals and endangered species. The sites listed below were chosen because they cover the classification of many types of animals.

Specific Sites

Classification of Living Things http://anthro.palomar.edu/animal/
“In this tutorial you will be learning about the Linnaean system of classification used in the biological sciences to describe and categorize all living things. The focus is on finding out how humans fit within this system. In addition, you will discover part of the great diversity of life forms and come to understand why some animals are considered to be close to us in their evolutionary history.”

The Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/index.html
“The Animal Diversity Web is a collection of pictures and information about animals. Accounts of individual species include information on distributions, natural history, conservation, and economic importance, along with pictures and sounds if available. Synopses of some higher taxonomic groups are also provided.”

The Tree of Life http://tolweb.org/tree/phylogeny.html
“The Tree of Life is a collection of over 1380 World Wide Web pages containing information about the diversity of life. These pages are housed on 20 computers in four countries, and are authored by biologists from around the world. Each page contains information about one group of organisms. The pages are linked one to another in the form of the evolutionary tree of organisms, with the pages branching off from a group’s page being about subgroups. In this way the Tree of Life project illustrates, by the connectedness of its own pages, the evolutionary tree that unites all living things.”

The Phylogeny of Life http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibit/phylogeny.html
This is an exhibit maintained by Berkeley which takes you hierarchically through “the ancestor/descendant relationships which connect all organisms that have ever lived.”

Sea World/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database http://www.seaworld.org/
This site provides detailed species information on select animals that tend to be featured in their parks.

Audubon Online Field Guides http://www.eNature.com/guides/select_group.asp
Includes guides for amphibians, birds, butterflies, fishes, insects, mammals, reptiles, seashells, seashore creatures, spiders, trees, and wildflowers. Use the advanced search features “to search by size, color, habitat, region, and more.”

The Cyber Zoomobile 20070306113402/http://home.globalcrossing.net/~brendel/
This site contains photos and species information about animals you might typically find in a zoo.

The Virtual Zoo

This is a fun and easy way to find species classification and facts about animals commonly found in zoos (plus extinct animals) based on their common names.

Yahoo Category for Zoology http://dir.yahoo.com/Science/Biology/Zoology/
From this index, you should be able to find species information if you click on either the Nomenclature or Animals, Insects, and Pets headings.

This pathfinder created by Amy K. Watia.