Kingdoms Living things can be grouped into five kingdoms: animals, plants, monerans, protists, and fungi. The organisms in each kingdom share similar characteristics. Let’s investigate these kingdoms! First is the animal kingdom. The animal kingdom is made up of organisms that have many cells. Animals are either vertebrates like dogs, cats, and horses, or invertebrates like earthworms, jellyfish, and insects. Vertebrates have backbones and invertebrates do not. Animals are found all over the globe, living in forests, jungles, deserts, rivers, lakes, and oceans. They cannot make their own food and so must eat other animals and plants in their environments. Animals reproduce with eggs. Like the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom can be divided into two groups: vascular and nonvascular. Vascular plants have internal tubes that carry water from their roots to their leaves and include such organisms as oak trees, roses, and grass. Nonvascular plants survive by absorbing the water on and around them because they have no internal water tubes, roots, stems, or leaves. Nonvascular plants include mosses, lichens, and liverworts. Unlike animals, plants reproduce through seeds and spores and are able to make their own food through a process called photosynthesis. Organisms in the moneran kingdom are found everywhere on Earth. They include such organisms as blue-green algae, bacteria, and viruses. Some monerans are helpful and some are harmful. Helpful monerans allow us to digest and break down the foods we eat. They are also used to make cheeses and medicine. Harmful monerans cause diseases, destroy healthy cells, and decay fruits and vegetables. Monerans can produce their own food or feed on other organisms. The protist kingdom contains single-celled organisms that are found in watery environments or inside the bodies of animals as parasites. Some protists use energy from the sun to produce their own food while others consume foods in their environments. Did you know that your toothpaste contains protists? That’s right! Your toothpaste contains the skeletons of tiny protists. These tiny skeletons lightly scratch the food particles from the surface of your teeth. Organisms in the fungi kingdom are found all over the world. They especially love to live in the dark, damp forest environments. Fungi usually live and grow on their source of food. Some fungi include mushrooms, yeast, and mold.