Domain: Eukarya


            Kingdom: Animalia


                         Phylum: Chordata

                          Sub-Phylum: Vertebrata


                                        Class: Mammalia

                                         Sub-Class: Marsupialia


                                                   Order: Diprotodontia


                                                              Family: Phascolarctidae


                                                                         Genus: Phascolarctos


                                                                                       Species: Cinereus


The characteristics that define the koala, in taxonomy order include:

    Eukarya: Organisms are either single celled or multicellular

                   and contain a membrane-bound nucleus in their cell(s).

                Animalia: Organisms are multi-cellular heterotrophs.

                                If cell walls are present, they do not have chitin.

                            Chordata: Organisms have a spinal cord.

                                           Verbrata: Organisms have a backbone.

                                                    Mammalia: Organisms contain mammary glands to feed

                                                                      their young and have body fur or hair.

                                                                  Marsupialia: Organisms use pouches for

                                                                                      the development of their young.

                                                                                Diprotodontia: Organisms have second and third

                                                                                                        fingers and toes fused together and

                                                                                                        have one pair of sharp teeth

                                                                                                        (Encyclopedia of Life 2013).

                                                                                                    Phascolarctidae: The koala is the only member.



The scientific name, Phascolarctos cinereus, comes from the Greek words phaskolos, meaning pouch, and arktos, meaning bear.  Cinereus, the specific epithet, means ash-colored.  Hence, a koala is a bear-like animal with a pouch that is ash or gray colored.  But do not get confused, as koalas are not bears, but rather marsupials (Australian Government 2013).