Taxon Definition

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This definition will answer our question of what is taxon. Taxonomy is made from two Greek words: ‘taxis’ and ‘nomos'. Aristotle is known as the father of taxonomy. A taxon meaning is that it is a group of one or more than one populations of organisms. These are seen by the taxonomists to form a unit. The taxonomy or taxa biology is the branch of science that deals with the study of principles and the procedures that are required for classification. The word taxa signifies the taxonomic group of any rank. The taxa are known by a particular name and they are also given a particular ranking. The taxonomic categories biology is necessary because it helps us in the process of classification. Further, we will learn more about taxa meaning, taxonomic categories, and the different categories in which classification has been done. 

Taxonomic Categories

After studying the taxon definition above, we will learn about taxonomic classification and categories. It is not a single step process of classifying living organisms. It takes place in multiple steps. A rank of the category is represented at each step in the hierarchy of steps. As these categories are a part of the taxonomic arrangement, it is known as the taxonomic category. When all these taxonomic categories come together, it forms a taxonomic hierarchy. 

Taxa in Biology

Here we will learn about what is taxa in biology. Taxa are the plural word for the taxon. The taxon represents a level of grouping of organisms that is based on some easily observable characteristics. This is the difference between taxa and taxon.  For example, like in insects, they can be classified on the basis of some features like three pairs of jointed legs. By this feature, the insects can be uniquely recognized and classified. Due to this, they were given a definite rank or category in the taxonomic hierarchy. Similarly, the birds can represent that group of organisms that have feathers, hollow bones and beaks. As they have different features from that of insects, so they are kept in different taxonomic hierarchies. By remembering their ranks and taxon's we can memorise them. The rank or the taxon represents the group of organisms that share some different features that are unique among the members of their group. These are obviously different from the organisms that are kept in another taxon. So in this way, these taxonomic groups form the groups or categories that are distinct biological entities and they must be thought of as random aggregates of animals that are based on morphological features. This is the actual taxa meaning. 

Taxonomical Aids

After understanding what is taxon, we will study taxonomical aids. When we make a systematic study on diverse organisms, it benefits us. As humans, we can use this knowledge to understand exactly how all the bio-resources on earth existed. Field study and lab work is required to make accurate classification and the identification of organisms. The primary source of doing a taxonomic study is by collecting the actual specimens of plants and animals. We can study the various relationships present between them and also about the diverse organisms' morphology. It plays an important role in systematics training also. These taxonomical aids can help us in:

  • Making a fundamental study of different living organisms

  • It also helps us in providing aid in their systematic study.

  • The gathered information is stored for future studies. 

Keeping this in mind, the biologists have made certain procedures and techniques for storing and preserving the information. Some of these resources that provide us with the information are herbarium, Botanical gardens, Museums and Zoological parks. 

Categories of Classification

There are very diverse kinds of organisms that are known and are studied by scientists. These are also known as ranks of classification. There are seven categories and we will understand them below. 

  1. Kingdom: 

It is the first and the highest category in the taxonomic hierarchy. It is made up of a group of phyla that have certain basic common characteristics. Animalia is one of a kingdom. The animals that are present in this phyla lack a cell wall and chlorophyll. The ones that are present in kingdom Plantae have rigid cell walls around their cells and they also synthesize their own food by the process of photosynthesis. In short, they are also known as animal and plant kingdom. 

  1. Phylum: 

It is also known as division. This category is lower than that of the kingdom. Phylum term is used for animals and division is used for plants. It comprises different classes. Like fishes, amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals, all of them make a phylum Chordata. 

  1. Class: 

They are a diverse group of different phyla or a group of one or more related orders. Like the monkey, gorilla, gibbon, all make the same class of Mammalia. They are kept under the same class because all of them have milk-producing glands and hair on their body. 

  1. Order: 

It is a diversion of class or a group of related families. The families of cats and the families of dogs are kept under the same order as Carnivora. They both have canine teeth. 

  1. Family: 

This category is lower than that of order. It includes various groups that are related to each other by their genera. They share fewer similarities as compared to that at the genus and species level. 

  1. Genus:

It is made up of a group of related species. The genus has more characteristics in common as compared to the species of the other genera. 

  1. Species: 

It refers to the natural population of individuals or groups of species that resembles one another in some of the other morphological or reproductive characters. 

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Taxon or Taxon Definition?

Answer: Taxon is just a level of grouping of organisms. The grouping is based on certain easily observable characters. These characteristics are very common among them and are easy to observe. By remembering their rank or their taxon we can memorise these groups of organisms. The characters on which they are classified are totally different from the classification of another taxon. So, these taxonomic groups are just distinct biological entities that must not be thought of as random aggregates of animals that are based on their morphological features. 

2. What is a Herbarium?

Answer: Herbarium is a type of taxonomical aid that is used for studying different types of plant species. It is a storehouse of collected plant specimens. These specimens are dried, pressed and are then preserved on sheets. These sheets are then arranged in a sequence that is acceptable according to the system of classification.