Taxonomic Classification

Taxonomic Classification

 Scientific Name


 Kingdom  Animalia  
 Phylum  Arthropoda Animal with jointed legs
 Subphylum  Chelicerata Animals with no jaws
Class   Merostomata The mouth is surrounded by legs
Subclass  Xiphosura Xiphos meaning sword and uros meaning tail in Greek
 Order  Xiphosurida Meaning sword-tailed animal
 Family  Limulidae 3 superfamilies with numerous families/subfamilies
 Genus  Limulus Latin, meaning somewhat oblique by referring to the sideways placement of the compound eyes. 3 genera within the subclass
 Species  polyphemus Greek, meaning one-eyed giant and referring to the simple eyes on the carapace


Xiphosurans are members of the subphylum Chelicerata that contains an estimate 75000 species consisting of a diverse array of organisms such as spiders, scorpions, mites, ticks and of course the horseshoe crab. It also includes extinct groups such as the Eurypterids, Trigonotarbida, and Chasmataspida. However the Xiphosura have a separate class, the Merostomata. Within this class are many extinct families, genera and species of which only three genera and four species survived:



Author: Andrew Przewieslik
Last updated: 21/11/05
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Websites produced by students on the MSc Palaeobiology programme in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol for academic year 2005-6