What is a classification?

Niklas Wahlberg

A classification is a way to communicate about the immense complexity of life that surrounds us. In 1758 Linnaeus formalised the way we classify organisms by using a hierarchical system. All organisms are placed in this taxonomic hierarchy, for instance butterflies belong to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Arthropoda, Class Insecta and Order Lepidoptera. Nymphalidae is a Family belonging to Lepidoptera, which is further split into a number of Subfamilies, Tribes and Subtribes. The basic unit of life is the species. A species name is composed of a Genus name and a Specific name, e.g. Nymphalis antiopa. The species name is always italicized, unlike the names of higher taxa (such as subtribe, tribe, subfamily, family, etc), which have no special fonts associated with them.