What is the taxonomy of penguins?
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What is the taxonomy of penguins?

We used to think the taxonomy of penguins was straightforward.  However, biologists seem to have a habit of changing the way they classify penguins.  The most up to date classification is that given by ITIS, the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, however, most penguin textbooks give a different version.  The main difference is that most penguin biologists seem to prefer to put penguins in an order of their own (Sphenisciformes) while ITIS lumps them with many other families in the order (Ciconiiformes).

The ITIS taxonomy is:

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata 

Sub - Phylum - Vertebrata

Class - Aves

Order - Ciconiiformes

Family - Spheniscidae

Genus - Aptenodytes, Pygoscelis, Eudyptes, Megadyptes, Eudyptula, Spheniscus (6 Genera)

Species - 17 different species as listed in the detailed species notes.

 

While the taxonomy given in most penguin texts is:-

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Vertebrata

Class - Aves

Order - Sphenisciformes

Family - Spheniscidae

Genus - Aptenodytes, Pygoscelis, Eudyptes, Megadyptes, Eudyptula, Spheniscus (6 Genera)

Species - 17 different species as listed in the detailed species notes.