In biological classification, class (Latin: classis) is
- a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, order, family, genus, and species, with class fitting between phylum and order. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the prefix sub-: subclass (Latin: subclassis).
- a taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that rank. In that case the plural is classes (Latin classes)
The composition of each class is determined by a taxonomist. Often there is no exact agreement, with different taxonomists taking different positions. There are no hard rules that a taxonomist needs to follow in describing a class, but for well-known animals there is likely to be consensus. For example, dogs are usually assigned to the class Mammalia; in the phylum Chordata (animals with notochords); in the order Carnivora (mammals that eat meat).