Genus vs. Species: Difference Between Genus and Species

What's the difference between a genus and a species? In this article, we'll explore the differences between these two terms and provide some examples to help you better understand. Read on to learn more.
Genus vs. Species: 7 Key Differences, Pros & Cons, Examples

Genus vs. Species: both genus and species are the terms which refer to a specific plant, animal, or any organism. The main difference between genus and species is their different biological classification. The genus comes first before the species, and the species can never state alone.

Let’s take a closer look at Genus versus Species:

Number of Organisms The genus contains more organisms as compared to species
PurposeBoth genus and species are used for the biological classification of organisms on earth.
Level of Ranking If we talk about species Vs. genus, the genus is higher in ranking
Composition Genus is composed of different species, while species are of different subspecies.

Table of Contents

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What Is Genus?

What Is Genus? A genus is a term of taxonomic classification which ranks above the species and below the family. Genus consists of a collection of different species which have similar characteristics. In binomial nomenclature, the genus comes first, before species. For example, if we look at the scientific name of humans, Homo Sapiens. Homo is a genus.

A genus is a term of taxonomic classification which ranks above the species and below the family. Genus consists of a collection of different species which have similar characteristics. In binomial nomenclature, the genus comes first, before species. For example, if we look at the scientific name of humans, Homo Sapiens. Homo is a genus.

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What Is Species?

What Is Species? A species is a group of closely related organisms with similar characteristics and interbreeding to produce offspring. Specie is considered an essential unit of the classification system of the organism. In order to define a specific species, the ecological features, DNA sequences, and similarities can be considered.

A species is a group of closely related organisms with similar characteristics and interbreeding to produce offspring. Specie is considered an essential unit of the classification system of the organism. In order to define a specific species, the ecological features, DNA sequences, and similarities can be considered.

7 Key Differences Between Genus And Species

ComponentsGenusSpecies
DescriptionA genus is a taxonomic rank that is used to classify living organisms, fossils, and viruses biologically. Species is a group of an organism that have similar characteristics and can interbreed.
Name DerivationThe word genus is derived from a Greek word that means race. Species is derived from Latin words that mean appearance. 
Number Of OrganismsThe genus contains a large number of organisms. Species consist of a few numbers of the organism
Hierarchy Of Biological ClassificationGenus comes below the family and above the species in a hierarchy of biological classification. Specie is a natural taxonomic unit that ranks below the genus
Species & SubspeciesA genus contains several species in it, and a number of genera can form a subfamily. A species has a number of subspecies in it, which are not included in writing the scientific name.
Binomial NomenclatureGenus is the first word of an organism’s scientific name and is always written in italics.Specie is the second word of the scientific name of an organism.
InterbreedingThe organism under the genus may or may not interbreed with each other.An organism of the same specie or subspecies can produce offspring.

Example of Genus and Species

Genus Examples

OrganismScientific NameGenus
HumansHomo SapiensHomo
CatsFelis CatusFelis

Species Examples

OrganismScientific NameSpecies
HumansHomo SapiensSapiens
CatsFelis CatusCatus

Genus vs. Species Pros and Cons

Pros and Cons of Genus

Pros and Cons of Genus

Pros of Genus

  • Genus is the first level of taxonomic classification.
  • Genus is a higher classification than species.
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Cons of Genus

  • Genus is always written in italics, which is difficult to memorize.
  • To ordinary people, it is unfamiliar and, for some, meaningless.

Pros and Cons of Species

Pros and Cons of Species

Pros of Species

  • Species is an essential level of classification of the organism.
  • Species of an organism can provide information about it, like where it is from and how it looks.

Cons of Species

  • In binomial nomenclature, to write a specie same, its genus must be written first.
  • One species may have different names, which can cause confusion.

Comparison Chart

What's the difference between a genus and a species? In this article, we'll explore the differences between these two terms and provide some examples to help you better understand. Read on to learn more.

Comparison Video

2.4: Genus and Species

Conclusion

Whether it is genus or species, both are an essential level of taxonomic names, also known as the scientific classification of an organism. Species are the taxonomic rank of an organism that have a lot of similarities and can interbreed. A genus is a group of closely-related different species. The main difference between species and genus is that species lie below the genus in the classification system while genus is a lower classification that lies below family but above the species.

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