Main Difference – Phylum vs Division
Phylum and division are two taxonomic levels that are used in the biological classification of organisms. Taxonomy is a branch of biology, which scientifically groups and names organisms based on their characteristics and the evolutionary history. Both phylum and division occur below kingdom and above class. The main difference between phylum and division is that phylum is a classification level of the animal kingdom whereas division is the alternative classification level to the phylum in the kingdom Plantae and Fungi. Sometimes the term division is used as the lower classification level of the kingdom Protista and kingdom Monera. The kingdom Animalia comprises 36 phyla. The kingdom Plantae comprises 12 phyla, and the kingdom Fungi comprises 7 phyla.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Phylum
– Definition, Classification, Examples
2. What is a Division
– Definition, Classification, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Phylum and Division
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Phylum and Division
– Comparison of Key Differences
Key Terms: Animals, Class, Division, Fungi, Kingdom, Phylum, Plants, Protists, Taxonomy
What is a Phylum
Phylum refers to a principal taxonomic category of animals, which ranks above class and below kingdom. It is the largest group of scientifically categorized animals. The classification is done based on the internal organization of the body of the organism. Organisms of a particular phylum also share a similar body plan as well as external appearance.
Though the kingdom Animalia consists of 36 phyla, most animals in it belong to nine phyla. Those nine phyla are Porifera, Coelenterata, Platyhelminthes, Aschelmeinthes, Annelida, Arthropoda, Mollusca, Echinodermata, and Chordata.
- Phylum Porifera: Consists of primitive, salt-water sponges with no nerve cells or muscle cells
- Phylum Coelenterata (Cnidaria): Consists of aquatic, lower animals such as Hydra and jellyfish
- Phylum Platyhelminthes: Consists of flatworms
- Phylum Aschelmeinthes: Consists of most of the parasitic roundworms
- Phylum Annelida: Consists of segmented warms
- Phylum Arthropoda: The largest phylum, which consists of insects
- Phylum Mollusca: The second largest phylum, consists of invertebrate mollusks such as snails, clams, scallops, chitons, and oysters.
- Phylum Echinodermata: Consists of sea stars and sea urchins.
- Phylum Chordata: Consists of vertebrates, which contain a notochord and paired pharyngeal gills. This phylum contains fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals.
What is a Division
Division refers to a taxonomic ranking of plants and fungi, which ranks above class and below kingdom. It is the rank, which is equivalent to the phylum. Eight major phyla of plants can be identified; Chlorophyta, Bryophyta, Pteridophyta, Cycadophyta, Ginkgophyta, Pinophyta, Gnetophyta, and Magnoliophyta.
- Division Chlorophyta: Consists of freshwater and marine algae
- Division Bryophyta: Consists of amphibian plants in the plant kingdom such as mosses, liverworts, and hornworts
- Division Pteridophyta: Consists of ferns and horsetails
- Division Cycadophyta: Consists of gymnosperms such as cycads
- Division Ginkgophyta: Consists of gymnosperms such as Ginkgo
- Division Pinophyta: Consists of gymnosperms such as conifers
- Division Gnetophyta: Consists of gymnosperms such as Gnetum and
- Division Magnoliophyta: Consists of angiosperms
The seven divisions of fungi are Microsporidia, Glomeromycota, Chytridiomycota, Ascomycota, Blastocladiomycota, Neocallimastigomycota, and Basidiomycota.
- Division Microsporidia: Consists of endobiotic fungi
- Division Glomeromycota: Consists of fungi, which produce zoospores
- Division Blastocladiomycota: Consists of fungi, which exhibit zygotic meiosis
- Division Neocallimastigomycota: Consists of anaerobic fungi
- Division Glomeromycota: Consists of fungi, which exhibit mutualist symbiosis
- Division Ascomycota: Consists of fungi, which produce ascospores
- Division Basidiomycota: Consists of club fungi
Similarities Between Phylum and Division
- Phylum and division are two higher taxonomic levels that are used to biologically classify organisms.
- Both phylum and division occur below the kingdom and above the class.
- The taxonomic level of both phylum and division are the same.
Difference Between Phylum and Division
Phylum: A phylum refers to a principal taxonomic category of animals, which ranks above class and below kingdom.
Division: A division refers to a taxonomic ranking of plants and fungi, which ranks above class and below kingdom.
Phylum: Phylum is used to classify animals.
Division: Division is used to classify plants, fungi, and protists.
Phylum: Phylum is a precise taxonomic level.
Division: Division is a less precise classification level when compared to the phylum.
Phylum and division are two higher taxonomic rankings used in the biological classification of organisms. Both phylum and division lie above class and below kingdom. The phylum is a classification level of animals whereas division is a classification level of plants and fungi. The main difference between phylum and division is the type of organism classified by each taxonomic raking.
1.“Animal Phyla.” Tree of Life, Available here. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.
2.“Plant Classification.” [email protected], Available here. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.
3.“Kingdom Fungi.” [email protected], Available here. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.
1. “AnimalsRelativeNumbers” By Nick Beeson (Nwbeeson at en.wikipedia) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Gr 7 – Plant classification” by Siyavula Education (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
3. “02 01 groups of Fungi (M. Piepenbring)” By M. Piepenbring – M. Piepenbring (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia