Species Definition: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Alexandra Owens

Alexandra has taught middle school science and has a master's degree in Math and Science Education.

Have you ever heard the term homo sapiens? That is the scientific name for the human species! You are part of a species that is different from all other animals. Learn more about what makes a species in this lesson.

What is a Species?

You may have heard the word 'species' before and wondered what it meant. 'Species' is usually used when comparing two animals or perhaps when someone has discovered a new species. 'Species' is just a way of classifying living things. Classifying means organizing or comparing. You may have classified a collection of things before. I like classifying my clothes in my closet by length and color.

A species is the most detailed form of classification of living things. For example, I group all my long blue jeans together in my closet. In living things, a species is a group of similar individuals that are able to reproduce. There are over 1.8 million species on Earth! Let's learn more about how species are classified.

Living things are classified into levels based on their similarities.

The Classification System

Scientists classify living things to show their similarities and differences. There are eight major levels of this classification system: domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and finally, species. Some people remember this using a silly saying like 'Dear King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti', which uses the first letter of each level.

The kingdoms are the largest groups in the classification system. They include kingdoms like plants, animals, and fungi. Then, as you work your way down through the system, you get more and more specific until you reach the species. For example, cats belong to the kingdom with all the other animals, but they are their own individual species.

Panda bears may look like other bears, but they are their own species.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account