In life, a subphylum is a taxonomic rank
Taxonomic rank
In biological classification, rank is the level in a taxonomic hierarchy. Examples of taxonomic ranks are species, genus, family, and class. Each rank subsumes under it a number of less general categories...

 intermediate between phylum and superclass. The rank of subdivision in plants and fungi is equivalent to subphylum.

Not all phyla are divided into subphyla. Those that are include:
  • Arthropod
    An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

    a: divided into subphyla Trilobitomorpha, Chelicerata
    The subphylum Chelicerata constitutes one of the major subdivisions of the phylum Arthropoda, and includes horseshoe crabs, scorpions, spiders and mites...

    , Myriapoda
    Myriapoda is a subphylum of arthropods containing millipedes, centipedes, and others. The group contains 13,000 species, all of which are terrestrial...

    , Hexapoda
    The subphylum Hexapoda constitutes the largest grouping of arthropods and includes the insects as well as three much smaller groups of wingless arthropods: Collembola, Protura, and Diplura . The Collembola are very abundant in terrestrial environments...

     and Crustacea
    Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

  • Brachiopoda: divided into subphyla Linguliformea
    Linguliformea is a subphylum of inarticulate brachiopods. These were the earliest of brachiopods, ranging from the Cambrian into the Holocene. They rapidly diversified during the Cambrian into the Ordovician, but most families went extinct by the end of the Devonian.The articulation in these...

    , Craniformea and Rhynchonelliformea
    Rhynchonelliformea is the name now given to the articulate brachiopods, Class Articulata, revised as a subphylum. Articulate brachiopods are those with hard, articulated, shells with a simple set of opening and closing muscles....

  • Chordata: divided into Tunicata
    Tunicates, also known as urochordates, are members of the subphylum Tunicata, previously known as Urochordata, a group of underwater saclike filter feeders with incurrent and excurrent siphons that is classified within the phylum Chordata. While most tunicates live on the ocean floor, others such...

    , Cephalochordata
    The lancelets , also known as amphioxus, are the modern representatives of the subphylum Cephalochordata, formerly thought to be the sister group of the craniates. They are usually found buried in sand in shallow parts of temperate or tropical seas. In Asia, they are harvested commercially as food...

    , and its largest subphylum Vertebrata.
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