What is a Genus? Taxonomy explained

Per definition, a Genus (noun, plural: genera) is a taxonomic category ranking used in biological classification that is above a species and below a family level, and includes groups of species that are structurally similar or phylogenetically related.

Now, what does this mean?

It means that a genus is just a category used by biologists to classify and categorize similar organisms to understand how they are related. Biological classification, or Taxonomy, is a system used by biologists to understand the different groups of organisms on earth and how they evolved from each other.

In Taxonomy, organisms are categorized in smaller and smaller groups with similar attributes. This ladder ends with each individual species on earth that can have fertile offspring.

The genus is the second last step of this ladder, just before the species. To determine the taxonomic name of a species, the genus and species name are put together. For example, the taxonomic name of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is Crotalus adamanteus, where Crotalus (rattlesnakes) is the genus name and adamanteus is its species name.


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