Living Things

Team Biology at
Created by: Team Biology at, Last Updated: July 8, 2024

Living Things

Living things, also known as organisms, encompass a vast diversity of life forms, including flora (plants) and fauna (animals). These organisms exhibit essential characteristics such as growth, reproduction, response to stimuli, and metabolism. Fauna, which refers to the animal life in a specific region, plays a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance. Understanding the various forms of life helps us appreciate the complexity and interdependence of all living organisms within ecosystems.

What Are Living Things? 

Living things, or organisms, are entities that exhibit life processes such as growth, reproduction, response to stimuli, and metabolism. They include flora (plants) and fauna (animals), all contributing to the complex web of life within ecosystems.

Living Things Examples

  1. Humans
  2. Oak trees
  3. Lions
  4. Dolphins
  5. Bacteria
  6. Fungi
  7. Blue whales
  8. Rose bushes
  9. Elephants
  10. Maple trees
  11. Eagles
  12. Frogs
  13. Horses
  14. Penguins
  15. Algae
  16. Coral reefs
  17. Bees
  18. Orchids
  19. Wolves
  20. Crocodiles
  21. Grasshoppers
  22. Sharks
  23. Pine trees
  24. Rabbits
  25. Butterflies
  26. Kangaroos
  27. Tulips
  28. Octopuses
  29. Snakes
  30. Cows
  31. Mushrooms
  32. Ants

Functions of Living Things

  1. Growth: Living things, according to cell theory, increase in size and complexity through cell division and enlargement.
  2. Reproduction: Organisms produce offspring to ensure the survival of their species.
  3. Response to Stimuli: Living things react to environmental changes to maintain homeostasis.
  4. Metabolism: Organisms convert energy from food into usable forms to power life processes.
  5. Homeostasis: Maintaining internal stability despite external changes is crucial for survival.
  6. Adaptation: Organisms evolve traits that enhance their survival and reproduction in specific environments.
  7. Movement: Many living things can move to find food, escape predators, or reproduce.
  8. Respiration: Organisms exchange gases with their environment to release energy from food.

Classification of Living Things

1. Domain: The highest rank, includes Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya.
2. Kingdom: Subdivides domains; includes Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista, Archaea, and Bacteria.
3. Phylum: Groups organisms based on general body plan and organization.
4. Class: Divides phyla; e.g., Mammalia in the Chordata phylum.
5. Order: Groups classes; e.g., Primates in the Mammalia class.
6. Family: Divides orders; e.g., Hominidae in the Primates order.
7. Genus: Groups species with common characteristics; e.g., Homo.
8. Species: The most specific rank, identifies individual organisms; e.g., Homo sapiens.

Characteristics Of Living Things  

  1. Reproduction: Living things produce offspring, ensuring the continuation of their species.
  2. Growth and Development: All living organisms grow and develop over time, undergoing various life stages.
  3. Response to Stimuli: Organisms react to environmental changes to survive and thrive.
  4. Metabolism: Living beings, through mutualistic relationships, convert energy from food into usable forms to sustain life processes.
  5. Homeostasis: Maintaining internal balance despite external fluctuations is crucial for survival.
  6. Cellular Organization: All living things are composed of one or more cells, the basic units of life.
  7. Adaptation and Evolution: Over time, organisms develop traits that enhance survival and reproduction.
  8. Respiration: Living organisms exchange gases with their environment to release energy from food.

Life Processes of Living Things

  1. Nutrition: Organisms obtain and process food to supply energy and nutrients necessary for growth and maintenance.
  2. Respiration: The process of exchanging gases with the environment to release energy from food.
  3. Excretion: Removal of metabolic waste products from the body to maintain internal balance.
  4. Growth: Increase in size and number of cells, leading to the development of the organism.
  5. Reproduction: Production of new individuals to ensure species survival.
  6. Movement: Ability to move, either entire organism or parts, to find food, escape predators, or reproduce.
  7. Response to Stimuli: Reacting to changes in the environment to ensure survival and well-being.
  8. Metabolism: Chemical reactions within cells that convert food into energy and building materials.

Living Things Within an Ecosystem

  1. Producers: Plants and algae produce energy through photosynthesis within their cells, forming the base of the food chain.
  2. Primary Consumers: Herbivores, as biotic factors, eat producers to obtain energy and nutrients.
  3. Secondary Consumers: Carnivores and omnivores consume primary consumers, transferring energy up the food chain.
  4. Tertiary Consumers: Top predators eat secondary consumers, maintaining population balance within the ecosystem.
  5. Decomposers: Bacteria and fungi break down dead organisms, recycling nutrients back into the ecosystem.
  6. Nutrient Cycling: Decomposed materials provide essential nutrients for producers, completing the cycle of energy and matter in the ecosystem.

Difference Between Living Things And Non-Living Things

AspectLiving ThingsNon-Living Things
GrowthGrow by increasing in size and number of cellsDo not grow; remain the same size
ReproductionReproduce to produce offspringCannot reproduce
Response to StimuliReact to environmental changesDo not respond to environmental changes
MetabolismCarry out metabolic processes to obtain and use energyDo not have metabolic processes
HomeostasisMaintain internal balance despite external changesNo internal regulatory mechanisms
Cellular OrganizationComposed of one or more cellsNot composed of cells
AdaptationEvolve and adapt to their environment over generationsDo not adapt; remain unchanged
MovementMany can move autonomouslyDo not move on their own; any movement is due to external forces

What is the primary difference between living and non-living things?

Living things can grow, reproduce, and respond to stimuli, while non-living things cannot.

What are the main characteristics of living things?

Growth, reproduction, response to stimuli, metabolism, homeostasis, cellular organization, adaptation, and respiration.

What is metabolism?

The chemical processes that occur within a living organism to maintain life.

What does homeostasis mean?

The ability to maintain internal stability despite external changes.

How do living things reproduce?

Through sexual or asexual means to produce offspring.

What is the role of producers in an ecosystem?

They produce energy through photosynthesis, forming the base of the food chain.

What are primary consumers?

Herbivores that eat producers to obtain energy.

What are decomposers?

Organisms like bacteria and fungi that break down dead matter, recycling nutrients.

What is cellular organization?

The arrangement of cells that form the basic structure of living organisms.

Why is adaptation important for living things?

It allows organisms to survive and thrive in changing environments.

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