Classifying Fishes: Order Siluriformes
The classification of animals is called taxonomy, all types of animals, including fish, are categorised into different types. Fish are generally grouped according to their likenesses and differences by the people that do the classifying called taxonomists, or systematists.
Five "orders" make up 95% of the fishes in the freshwater aquarium hobby. They are the Cypriniformes, the Characiformes, the Siluriformes, the Cyprinodontiformes and the Perciformes. The remaining 5% are spread over another 4-5 orders.
The Order Siluriformes
The order Siluriformes contains the numerous families of catfish, including species like aquarium-dwelling plecostomus and corydoras, to large-growing redtail catfish and river-dwelling Mekong Giant catfish. Catfish are named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers.
See examples below:
All of the popular "suckerfish" species, such as the common pleco belong to the order Siluriformes.
Groups and Taxon / Taxa
Like all animals, fish are classified into large primary groups that are broken down into smaller groups, which are then broken down into even smaller, less inclusive groups.
For fish, the largest and most inclusive group would be the kingdom Animalia, which contains all animals.The next being the phylum, for fish it would be the phylum Vertebra, which contains all animals with backbones.
The next smaller grouping would be the "class" Osteichthyes, before descending into the four main "taxa" that make up the classifications of fish. These are the order, the family, the genus and the species. Some subfamilies, subgenera and subspecies also exist. In future blogs, we will explore in depth the history and the meaning behind them.
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