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Classifying species. (Chart Reading Skills).

When Joe Slowinski found the Burmese spitting cobra, he suspected it was a new species because it didn't look like other spitting cobras. He studied the snake's scales, jaws, teeth, fangs, and overall appearance, and found that he had indeed stumbled upon an unknown reptile. So Slowinski got naming rights.

While the Burmese spitting cobra is the snake's common name, to name the species scientifically, Slowinski used a classification process. He placed the snake into a series of increasingly specific categories. He first grouped it together with distant relatives, and then its family, and eventually, its species. This science of classification is called Taxonomy. Check out the taxonomy table for the Burmese spitting cobra--Naja mandalayensis--below.
COMMON NAME: BURMESE SPITTING COBRA

CLASSIFICATION EXPLANATION

Kingdom: Animalia Cobras are members of the animal kingdom.

Phylum *: Chordata Animals in the chordata phylum have spinal
 cords.

Class: Reptilia Reptiles lay eggs and have horny or scaly
 skin.

Order: Squamata Squamata are scale-covered reptiles such as
 lizards and snakes.

Family: Elapidae The elapid family: poisonous snakes with round
 pupils, fast-acting neurotoxic venom and a
 pair of short, fixed fangs in the front of the
 upper jaw.

Genus: Naja Genus: a group of species that are related but
 cannot interbreed.

Species: mandalayensis Species: a group of related individuals that
 can mate and produce offspring.

* called Division in plants


Study the classification chart, above, and review "Deadly Snake Hunt" (p. 10) and "Meet the Elapids" miniposter (pp. 14-15). Then answer the following questions using complete sentences.

1. What family do the snakes on the miniposter belong to? what order? what class?

2. Do all elapids belong to the same kingdom, phylum, and class? why?

3. What genus does the green mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) belong to? What's the species name?

4. What is the scientific name of the king cobra?

5. Research and create a classification table for the Indian cobra.

Keep On Going:

Research and create taxomony tables for humans (Homo sapiens), the potato (Solanum tuberosum), and the potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata).

ANSWERS

1. The snakes belong to the elapid family, squamata order, and reptilia class.

2. Family members are in the same kingdom, phylum, and class.

3. Green mamba's genus is Dendroaspis. Its species name is angusticeps.

4. Ophiophagus hannah is king cobra's scientific name.

5. Table should match the Naja mandalayensis table but with Naja as genus and naja as species.

Human being Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primata Hominidae Homo sapiens Potato Plantae Magnoliophyta Magnoliopsida Polemoniales Solanceae Solanum Tuberosum

Potato beetle Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Coleoptera Chrysomelidae Leptinotarsa decemlineata
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Publication:Science World
Date:Sep 3, 2001
Words:421
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