Kingdom Animalia 101

Kingdom Animalia 101: Big List Of The Animal Phyla

The Kingdom Animalia is currently divided into 32 phyla (singular phylum).

Generally speaking, people consider the animals of this world to be divided into two groups, the ‘vertebrates’ (those with backbones) and the ‘invertebrates’ (those without backbones).

Although this is correct, as far as it goes – it does not give a accurate picture of the importance of the two groups, nor of their relative sizes and complexities.

The invertebrates make up easily more than 99% of all recorded animal species and in terms of individuals would account for more than 99.99% of all animals.

Invertebrates are members of the Kingdom Animalia. They are linked together by the fact that they have no backbone or vertebrae. They do not include the Protozoa, who are generally considered to be part of the Kingdom Protista.

The diversity and number of invertebrates is mind boggling. Most of them however, are insects.

Below is a list of the animal phyla with their common name and approximate number of named species. You can follow the links to a page about each phyla. In order to make certain that something is available concerning each phyla quickly, I have written a brief introduction to each for the time being.


Table of the Phyla of Kingdom Animalia

Scientific Name (Phylum) Common Name No. Species
Acanthocephala Spiny-headed Worms 1000
Annelida Earthworms, Ragworms 9000
Arthropoda Insects, Crabs, Spiders etc. 1000000
Brachiopoda Lamp Shells 335
Bryozoa Bryozoans 5000
Cephalorhyncha Tiny Marine Worms:- Includes Kinorhyncha, Loricifera and Priapulida 237
Chaetognatha Arrow-worms 110
Chordata Chordates (Tunicates, Mammals, Birds etc.) 50000
Cnidaria Sea Anenomes, Jellyfishes 9500
Ctenophora Comb Jellies 90
Cycliophora Cycliophorans 1
Dicyemida Tiny Marine Parasites of Octopus and Squids 122
Echinodermata Starfish and allies 6 000
Entoprocta Goblet Worms 150
Gastrotricha Gastrotrichs 400
Gnathostomulida Sand Worms 80
Hemichordata Hemichordates 90
Micrognathozoa Tiny Freshwater Worms 1
Mollusca Slugs, Snails, Squid. 110000
Nematoda Nematodes 25,000 named, many more un-named
Nematomorpha Horsehair Worms 240
Nemertea Ribbon Worms 900
Onychophora Peripatus 80
Orthonectida Tiny Parasites of Starfish, Bivalves and Worms 25
Phoronida Phoronans 10
Placozoa Placozoa 3
Platyhelminthes Flat Worms 25000
Porifera Sponges 10000
Rotifera Rotifers 2000
Sipuncula Peanut Worms 320
Tardigrada Water Bears 700
Xenacoelomorpha Microscopic Marine Worms 456

Some Recent Changes

The Pentastomida are now part of the Arthropoda; Crustacea, Maxillopoda

The Echiura, and Pogonophora are now part of the Annelida.

The Kinorhynca, Loricifera and Priapulida are now all together in the Cephalorhyncha

The Mesozoa has been now split into Orthonectida and Dicyemida

The phylum Xenocoelomorpha was created

The Myxozoa, which were briefly raised to the level of phylum are now firmly located in the phylum Cnidaria

The list above represents just one of several taxonomic classifications of the Kingdom Animalia and it is one which I find useful.

I have listed the animal Phyla here alphabetically, so as to facilitate people finding a particular phyla.  As such the listing does not reflect any evolutionary or phylogenetic relationships between the individual phyla.  I’ve also given an approximate value for the number of species it contains; these values represent minimum values. It is worth remembering that there are an unknown number of undiscovered species in every phyla.

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

One Comment

  1. Very cool site. I found you looking for info on a Bio Lab for my college class. Great work. You have made it very easy to understand and the site is well laid out. Great work!

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