Classification: What does it all mean?


Phylogenetic tree courtesy of WikipediaDomain: Eukarya - All members have cell(s) which posses a nucleus and membrane bound organelles

Kingdom: Animalia
- Members of this group do not posses cells with cell walls, they are heterotrophic (they feed on other things for nutrient uptake), they are motile at some stage in their life cycle, and are multi-cellular.

Phylum: Chordata
- Members have a skeletal rod (notochord), endostyle (thyroid gland), pharyngeal pouches at some stage, and a post-anal tail.

Class: Aves
- All members are winged, bipedal (two feet), reproduce sexually with internal fertilization and lay amniotic eggs.

Phylogenetic Tree 2
Order: Anseriformes
- Members of this group have feet that are either partially or entirely webbed, and live in or very near aquatic environments. Animals within this group include ducks, geese, swans, and relatives (screamers and magpie goose).

Family: Anatidae
- Members of this group have fully webbed feet and are particularly good swimmers due to this and special oils found in the feathers that repel water. The animals in this family tend to have a flattened bill that contain lamellae.

Genus: Anas - Members of this group are the dabbling ducks or surface-feeding ducks. These ducks have well defined lamellae which aid in filter-feeding when they dip their heads underwater to obtain food in muddy or debris-filled water.

Species: platyrhynchos - One of the most recognizable waterfowl in the world, the Mallard. Both male and female have a distinctive blue speculum on both wings, bright orange feet, and yellow bills. The male has the very distinctive iridescent green feathers on its head, and a narrow white collar band.
Phylogenetic tree 3
The second phylogenetic tree is based on morphological features seen in animals that are sorted into those categories. The third tree is based in part on morphological features, but also on similarities in DNA. The final column that includes the Mallard are all members that will produce fertile offspring if mated with the Mallard.  

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