Reich (biology)

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Hierarchy of ranks within the system of living beings (without intermediate levels)

The kingdom ( Regnum , English kingdom ) is a rank within the system of living beings . It is the second highest rank after the domain , but it is only valid within the eukaryotes . Within the bacteria and archaea one does not divide into realms, but directly into the next lower hierarchy, the trunk ( phylum ). In botany , the next lower rank is the department ( division ).

The kingdom is still in sub-kingdoms ( Subregna be divided).


For a long time the empire was the highest rank of living beings.

  • Originally, the taxonomy only differentiated between animals ( Animalia ) and plants ( Plantae ). (2 empires, Carl von Linné , 1735)
  • Later unicellular organisms came under the name Protisten ( Protista ). (3 Reiche, Ernst Haeckel , 1866)
  • Then the mushrooms ( Fungi ) were separated from the plants. Finally, in the middle of the 20th century, a fundamental distinction was made between unicellular organisms with a nucleus, eukaryotes ( Eukaryota ) and those without a nucleus, prokaryotes ( Prokaryota = Monera ). (4 Realms, Robert Whittaker , 1969)
  • As the last got archaea ( archaea ) their own realm. (5 Reiche, Carl Woese , 1977)
  • The protists were further differentiated into stramenopiles (or chromists ) and protozoa . (6 Realms, Thomas Cavalier-Smith , 1998)
  • Through studies of nucleic acids one came in the last years of the 20th century to a new division to give the domain introduced as the highest category to the fundamental difference between archaea (now archaea ( archaea called)) and eubacteria (now simply as bacteria ( Bacteria ) must also be documented taxonomically (3 domains, Carl Woese et al., 1990). The historical development of the domain concept is presented in detail by Jan Sapp.
Tabular comparison of various proposed taxonomies
Haeckel Whittaker Woese et al. a. Cavalier-Smith

Three realms

Five Realms

Six Realms
Three Domains
Two Domains
and Six Realms
Animalia Animalia Animalia Eucarya Eukaryota Animalia
Plantae Fungi Fungi Fungi
Plantae Plantae Plantae
Protista Protista
( Eukaryota )
( Eukaryota )
Protozoa obsolete
( prokaryota )
Archaebacteria Archaea Prokaryota Bacteria
Eubacteria Bacteria

Viruses special status

As far as viruses are concerned, it is largely agreed that they do not count as living beings, but that they can be regarded as "close to life". They do not have their own metabolism , and they cannot reproduce independently, but need a host for it . This is especially true for satellite viruses, which need a helper virus in addition to the host cell for their reproduction . Also viroids are not counted among the living beings. Viruses including satellite viruses, viroids and prions are subject to their own taxonomy . The permitted name endings for viruses are -virae for rich and -virites for under-submit . As a rank above Reich in viruses in place of the domain kicking range ( English realm ), which in subsections (s. Subrealms may be divided).


In addition to the classic evolutionary classification (from which the term empire comes from), there are now three other taxonomy concepts : numerical taxonomy, cladistics and taxonomy based on DNA base sequences. The traditionally used classification units cannot always be adopted in a modern system.

The recognized system of Adl et al. 2005 (latest edition 2019) for eukaryotes is primarily based on phylogenetic studies (cladistics) and is structured accordingly. It does not contain any category designations for the various taxa and names groups of organisms at the same level of rank that are located at different taxonomic levels in accordance with the classical system. A newer grouping has established itself, which assigns the classic realms of animals, fungi and plants to their respective related groups within the earlier protists . They are usually the super groups ( supergroup called). Strictly speaking, it does not belong to the taxonomy, since it skips the rank of "empire". The six taxa are:

For two further supergroups, the division of the domains by Woese , Kandler and Wheelis (1990) is preferred:

  • Bacteria
  • Archaea

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Reich  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jan Sapp: 'The New Foundations of Evolution: On the Tree of Life. Oxford University Press, New York, ISBN 978-0-19-973438-2 ( ).
  2. E. Haeckel: General Morphology of Organisms . Reimer, Berlin 1866.
  3. ^ RH Whittaker: New concepts of kingdoms of organisms . In: Science , Volume 163, 1969, pp. 150-160 doi : 10.1126 / science.163.3863.150
  4. WE Balch, LJ Magrum, GE Fox, CR Wolfe, CR Woese: An ancient divergence among the bacteria . In: Journal of Molecular Evolution. Vol. 9, No. 4, 1977, pp. 305-311. doi : 10.1007 / BF01796092 , PMID 408502
  5. ^ CR Woese, GE Fox: (November 1977). Phylogenetic structure of the prokaryotic domain: the primary kingdoms . In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Vol. 74, no. 11, 1977, pp. 5088-90. doi : 10.1073 / pnas.74.11.5088 . PMC 432104 (free full text). PMID 270744 .
  6. ^ A b Carl R. Woese, Otto Kandler, Mark L. Wheelis: Towards a natural system of organisms: Proposal for the domains Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya . In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Vol. 87 No. 12: 4576-4579 (1990). doi : 10.1073 / pnas.87.12.4576 . PMC 54159 (free full text). PMID 2112744 .
  7. Thomas Cavalier-Smith: A revised six-kingdom system of life . In: Biological Reviews . Volume 73, 1998, pp. 203-266. doi : 10.1111 / j.1469-185X.1998.tb00030.x
  8. Laura Wegener Parfrey, Erika Barbero, Elyse Lasser, Micah Dunthorn, Debashish Bhattacharya, David J. Patterson, Laura A. Katz (2006): Evaluating Support for the Current Classification of Eukaryotic Diversity . In: PLoS Genetics . Vol. 2, No. 12, 2006, p. E220. doi : 10.1371 / journal.pgen.0020220
  9. Sina M. Adl et al. : The New Higher Level Classification of Eukaryotes with Emphasis on the Taxonomy of Protists. In: The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. Volume 52, No. 5, 2005, pp. 399-451. PMID 16248873 doi : 10.1111 / j.1550-7408.2005.00053.x