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A taxonomic category or group, such as a phylum, order, family, genus or species.

Taxon DefinedEdit

A unit used in grouping and naming living organisms; a general term that can refer to any level of a taxonomic classification. Family, genus, and species are all taxa. The term taxa is also often used to refer to the number of distinct forms within a family, or other taxonomic grouping, when there is ambiguity as to whether some of those forms are species or subspecies.


A taxon is usually assigned a rank when it is given its formal, Latin name. The basic ranks are species and genus. When an organism is given a species name it is assigned to a genus, and the genus name is part of the species name. The genus is capitalized, while the species name is lowercase. The combined taxonomic name is then italicized. 

Example: Grey wolf- Canis lupus

A subspecies has an additional species name to distinguish it as from the primary species group.

Example: Arctic wolf- Canis lupus arctos

Main taxonomic ranks
Latin English
regio domain
regnum kingdom
phylum divisio phylum (in zoology) division (in botany)
classis class
ordo order
familia family
genus genus
species species


See:Carl Linnaeus

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