Animalia Kingdom: Definition, Characteristics & Facts

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

The Animalia Kingdom is defined as an assorted collection of organisms that have shared characteristics, and is the most expansive kingdom of organisms. Learn more about the Animalia Kingdom's characteristics, such as multicellular, heterotrophic, and eukaryotic, and other interesting facts. Updated: 10/26/2021

Definition of the Animalia Kingdom

What if I told you there was a creature that could be cut into tiny pieces, and not only would it survive, but each piece would regenerate into a new organism? Or a creature that has teeth that never stop growing and, if they don't get worn down, they will penetrate its brain. Or a tiny creature with barbed tentacles that can reach out to attack its prey. What if I also told you that these are not some alien creatures in a science fiction movie but, instead, living among us and are all members of the Animalia Kingdom? So, what were those mysterious critters? The first is a flatworm, the second is a beaver and the third is coral.

The Animalia Kingdom is a diverse group of organisms that share certain characteristics (we'll get to that shortly). Some members of this kingdom seem like they would fit in elsewhere, like sponges or coral. The Animalia Kingdom is the largest of all kingdoms with more than one million species!

Before we delve into the Animalia Kingdom, let's briefly look at the other kingdoms so you have a basis for comparison. Here is a list of the five other kingdoms with one example organism (but there are many more that could go in each group).

The Six Kingdom System
The Six Kingdom System

  • Archaebacteria: The microbe surviving in a hot spring
  • Eubacteria: The bacteria growing on your skin
  • Protista: An amoeba you might find in pond water
  • Fungi: The mushroom you put in your salad
  • Plantae: The spider plant sitting on your desk

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  • 0:02 The Animalia Kingdom
  • 1:50 Characteristics
  • 2:58 Facts & Examples
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Characteristics of Animalia Kingdom

It's hard to imagine that a sponge attached to a rock and a lion are in the same kingdom, but they share certain characteristics that land them together. For instance, creatures in the Animalia Kingdom are:

  • Multicellular, which means that they are made up of more than one cell. Some members of other kingdoms are just made up of one cell, like bacteria or amoeba.
  • Heterotrophic, which means they have to get their own food. Plants are autotrophic because they make their own food through photosynthesis. Because they cannot make their own food, members of the Animalia Kingdom must ingest, or eat, other organisms.
  • Eukaryotes: this is the type of cells animals have. Eukaryote cells are more complex than the simpler prokaryote cells found in bacteria.
  • No cell wall: plants, fungi and prokaryote cells have a cell wall, which is a rigid outer layer that gives cells structure. Animal cells do not have this structure.

Facts and Examples

The Animalia Kingdom is vast with many unique and interesting organisms. Once an animal is grouped into a kingdom, it is further grouped into phyla (singular is phylum), and there are 35 phyla within the Animalia Kingdom. Here are some facts and examples of some members of this kingdom:

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