Bear in mind that taxonomy can change. As more is learned
about living things, the relationships between them and how we
classify them is updated. Some scientists use more levels of
classification; others use less. The information I present
here should be generally acceptable.
All living things are classified into one of 5 kingdoms.
Reptiles belong to the kingdom Animalia (animals).
The kingdom Animalia is further divided into over 33
phyla. The phylum to which reptiles belong is
Chordata (animals which have a notochord, and are bilaterally
The phylum Chordata is further divided into 3 subphyla.
Reptiles belong to the subphylum Vertebrata (animals with
Vertebrata is broken down into 8 classes. All reptiles
belong to the class Reptilia. Reptilia is organized
into the following subclasses:
- Anapsida (turtles)
- Lepidosauria (tuatara, lizards, amphisbaenids, and snakes)
- Archosauria (alligators and crocodiles)
The subclass Anapsida contains the order Testudines
(Chelonia). There are no other living orders within
Anapsida. The subclass Lepidosauria contains the orders
Rhynchocephalia (tuatara) and Squamata (lizards, snakes, and
amphisbaenids). The subclass Archosauria contains only one
living order, Crocodylia.
The subclasses are further broken down into superfamilies,
families, subfamilies, and so on through the familiar Latin-based
system of binomial nomenclature (genus and species).
On each of the species accounts in the Field
Herping pages, a classification is given beginning with Order
and working down to subspecies level (where applicable).
If you are interested in learning more about reptilian
taxonomy/phylogeny, consult the EMBL