The kingdom Protista and its 45 phyla

Biosystems. 1984;17(2):87-126. doi: 10.1016/0303-2647(84)90003-0.


Because most recent treatments of the protists ('lower' eukaryotes comprising the kingdom PROTISTA Haeckel, 1866) have been preoccupied with either a 'phylogenetic-tree' approach or a discussion of the impact of possible endosymbiotic origins of major intracellular organelles, the overall systematics of the group, from taxonomic and nomenclatural points of view, has been almost totally neglected. As a result, confusion over contained phyla, their places in a classification scheme, and even their names (and authorships) is growing; the situation could become chaotic. The principal objective of the present paper is to recognize the taxonomic interrelationships among all protist groups; and it includes the specific proposal that some 45 phyla, defined and characterized, be assigned to 18 supraphyletic assemblages within the kingdom PROTISTA (itself redefined and contrasted with the other eukaryotic kingdoms recognized here: ANIMALIA, PLANTAE and FUNGI). Vernacular terms are employed for identification of the 18 assemblages, but defensible formal names are proposed at the level of phylum. None is presented as new: authorship-and-date credits are given to preceding workers on the taxonomy of the many groups involved. By presenting taxonomic characterizations as well as relevant nomenclatural data for each taxon described, a comprehensive scheme of overall higher-level classification within the kingdom emerges that may be considered to serve as a solid base or 'taking-off point' for future discussions. The 18 supraphyletic groups and their phyla (in parentheses and including authorships and dates of their formal names) are as follows: I. The rhizopods (phyla Karyoblastea Margulis, 1974; Amoebozoa Lühe, 1913; Acrasia Van Tieghem, 1880; Eumycetozoa Zopf, 1885; Plasmodiophorea Zopf, 1885; Granuloreticulosa De Saedeleer, 1934; incertae sedis Xenophyophora Schulze, 1904). II. The mastigomycetes (Hypochytridiomycota Sparrow, 1959; Oomycota Winter, 1897; incert. sed. Chytridiomycota Sparrow, 1959). III. The chlorobionts (Chlorophyta Pascher, 1914; Prasinophyta Christensen, 1962; Conjugatophyta Engler, 1892; Charophyta Rabenhorst, 1863; incert. sed. Glaucophyta Bohlin, 1901). IV. The euglenozoa (Euglenophyta Pascher, 1931; Kinetoplastidea Honigberg, 1963; incert. sed. Pseudociliata Corliss & Lipscomb, 1982). V. The rhodophytes (Rhodophyta Rabenhorst, 1863). VI. The cryptomonads (Cryptophyta Pascher, 1914). VII. The choanoflagellates (Choanoflagellata Kent, 1880).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Eukaryota / classification*
  • Fungi / classification*
  • Terminology as Topic