The 5 Kingdoms of Nature According to Whittaker

The 5 kingdoms of nature according to Whittaker are the kingdom animal (animal), plant (floors), mushrooms (fungi), Protista (protozoa) and Monera (prokaryotic organisms). This classification system for living things was created by ecologist Robert Whittaker in 1969.

In biology and taxonomy, a kingdom is a classification category of living things in which they are grouped according to the evolutionary relationship between their species. Whittaker based his classification on three levels of organization: prokaryotes (kingdom Monera), unicellular eukaryotes (kingdom Protista), and multicellular eukaryotes (the remaining three kingdoms).

Since 2015 there is a new classification of the 7 kingdoms of nature which proposes the kingdoms animal, plant, mushrooms, chromistprotozoa, bacteria and Archaea. This classification was presented by a group of scientists led by American biologist Michael Ruggiero.

We present below the characteristics of each of the kingdoms of the Whittaker classification.

Kingdom animal (animals)

wild rabbit

Rabbits are vertebrate organisms that belong to the kingdom Animals.

Mammals (including humans), fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, molluscs, insects and worms fall into this category.

This group is characterized by the fact that they are multicellular organisms, formed from eukaryotic cells, that is, with a definite nucleus. Cells do not have a cell wall, like in plants and fungi. They also lack chloroplasts, so they cannot perform photosynthesis.

In this area, there are two categories:

invertebrate animalsThey don’t have a backbone. For example, earthworm, octopus, spider.

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Vertebrate animalsThey have a backbone. For example, the dog, the bat, the sea turtle, the rabbit, the human being.

See also Kingdom Animalia

Kingdom plant (floors)


The sequoia is a living being that belongs to the kingdom plant and can live up to 1800 years.

All plant species belong to this kingdom. These are characterized by the fact that they are multicellular organisms, the cells of which have a defined nucleus (eukaryotes). Cells have a cell wall composed mainly of cellulose. In addition, they have chloroplasts, with which they carry out photosynthesis, a process that captures light to produce organic compounds.

Currently, many species considered part of the kingdom plant are located in the kingdom chromist of the classification of the 7 kingdoms.

Some examples of plants are redwood, monstera, pine, orchid.

See also Kingdom Plantae

Kingdom mushrooms (mushrooms)

fly agaric mushrooms

The false capes (Alittle hand muscaria) belong to the kingdom Fungi and are a type of poisonous mushroom.

For a long time, mushrooms were considered plants. Whittaker granted them the category of Kingdom, because they possess distinctive characteristics. One of them is that fungi are not capable of photosynthesis because they lack chloroplasts. For this reason, fungi are heterotrophs, as they depend on other beings for their nutrients.

Fungi absorb their nutrients by digesting organic matter from the external environment.

Fungal reproduction can be asexual or sexual. In sexual reproduction, they use spores, specialized cells that produce the most evolved fungi.

Examples of fungi are mushrooms and molds.

It may interest you Kingdom Fungi

Kingdom protist (protozoa)

unicellular protist Sticotricha sp.

The Sticotricha sp.. It is a genus of protozoa from the kingdom Protista.

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According to the classification of the 5 kingdoms of Whittaker, the Protista is the kingdom composed of unicellular eukaryotic organisms, which can obtain their nutrients by photosynthesis, ingestion, absorption or a combination of the three. They move by means of flagella, cilia, pseudopodia or they can be immobile.

In the most recent classification, the kingdom Protista has been renamed the kingdom Protozoa. On the other hand, some of the organisms that belonged to this category are now part of the realm chromistaccording to the current classification of the 7 kingdoms.

Some examples of organisms belonging to kingdom Protista are amoebas, paramecia, brown algae, ciliates and most water molds.

You might be interested in diving into the Protista Kingdom

Kingdom change (prokaryotic organisms)

5 kingdoms

Escherichia colia bacterium found in the human digestive tract.

In the 5 kingdoms classification system, Monera is the category to which single-celled (single-celled) organisms without a defined nucleus (prokaryotes) belong.

Today, we know that the organisms of the kingdom of Monera are in fact two different groups: the archaea and the bacteria. These two groups have their own kingdoms in the classification proposed by Ruggiero: kingdom Archaea and kingdom Bacterium.

Examples from the ancient kingdom Monera may be the bacillus Clostridium botulinumwhich causes botulism, and chlamydia, a bacterium responsible for certain sexually transmitted diseases.

See also Monera Kingdom.

Classification of living beings: how many kingdoms are there?

Throughout history, different classification systems have been created for living things. One of the most popular and widely used was that of the 5 kingdoms, created by Robert Whittaker in 1969. Its classification has been taught for decades and is still found in school textbooks.

However, the most recent classification is that of the 7 kingdoms, proposed by biologist Michael Ruggiero in 2015. This hierarchy is part of the Catalog of Life System (catalog of life or CoL), a scientific project that seeks precisely to unify the criteria for classifying living beings.

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This system contemplates the realms animal, plant, mushrooms, protozoa, chromist, Archaea and Bacteria. In the 5 kingdoms system, archaea and bacteria belong to kingdom Monera, while organisms from kingdom Protista are now part of kingdoms Protozoa and Chromista.


Whittaker, RH (1969) New Concepts of Organism Kingdoms. Science 163: 150-160. DOI:10.1126/science.163.3863.150