Classification of Tissue Types

There are Four (4) Basic Types of Animal Tissue:

  • Epithelial Tissue
    Covers body surfaces and lines body cavities
  • Connective Tissue
    Binds and Supports body parts
  • Muscular Tissue
    Enables movement of structures within the body and movement of the entire person/animal
  • Nervous Tissue
    Enables responses to stimuli and coordinates bodily functions

Each of the 10 tissue-types included in this section (Adipose tissue, Areolar tissue, Blood (tissue), Bone tissue, Cartilage tissue, Lymphatic tissue, Muscular tissue, Nervous tissue, White fibrous tissue, Yellow elastic tissue) falls into one of the four categories above. These four "Basic Types" of animal tissues can be sub-divided further as each includes sub-types specialised to meet specific needs and/or perform particular tasks.


1. Epithelial Tissue

Epithelial tissue exists in many forms and can be classified or sub-divided in different ways.

Types of Epithelial Tissue:

Covering and Lining Epithelial Tissue

Types of Epithelial Tissue (in this classification)

Classification by Cell Shape:

  • Squamous
  • Cuboidal
  • Columnar
  • Transitional

Classification by Arrangement of Layers:

  • Simple Epithelium
  • Simple squamous epithelium
  • Simple cuboidal epithelium
  • Nonciliated simple columnar epithelium
  • Ciliated simple columnar epithelium
  • Stratified Epithelium
  • Stratified squamous epithelium
  • Stratified cuboidal epithelium
  • Stratified columnar epithelium
  • Transitional epithelium
  • Pseudostratified columnar Epithelium
  • Pseudostratified columnar epithelium.

Glandular Epithelial Tissue

  • Endocrine Glands
  • (Tissue of) Endocrine Glands
  • Exocrine Glands
  • (Tissue of) Exocrine Glands

Each of the sub-divisions of epithelial tissue identified above can be described in terms of its structure (using both text and diagrams), location, and function within the body.

2. Connective Tissue

Connective tissues serve the general purpose of supporting and connecting the tissues of the body, and vary considerably in structure and composition. Teaching materials (incl. textbooks and websites) sub-divide this tissue category in various different ways - hence it is useful to be aware of variations and overlap in classifications and terminology.

Types of Connective Tissue:

Embryonic Connective Tissue

  • Mesenchyme
  • Mucous connective tissue

Mature Connective Tissue


Loose Connective Tissue:

Dense Connective Tissue:


Cartilage Tissue:

  • Hyaline Cartilage
  • Fibrocartilage
  • Elastic Cartilage

Bone (Osseous) Tissue:

  • Compact Bone
  • Spongy Bone

Blood Tissue:


Lymphatic Tissue:

  • Lymph

3. Muscular Tissue

There are three (3) types of muscular tissue:

Skeletal Muscle (Tissue):

located throughout the body and under conscious (i.e. "voluntary") control, main function movement of the structures of the body, and the body as a whole, e.g. by walking, running, etc..

Cardiac Muscle (Tissue):

which is found only in the heart and is important for effective blood-flow through the heart.

Smooth Muscle (Tissue):

involuntary muscle tissue located around the walls of many internal structures such as the stomach and intestines and important for aiding the passage of materials/fluids through those structures.

4. Nervous Tissue

Nervous tissue consists of two (2) main types of cells:

Nerve Cells (also known as Neurons or Neurones) -


whose purpose is to transmit (electrical) nerve impulses that move information around the body.

Neuroglia (also known as simply Glia) -


which support and protect nerve cells, depending on the particular type of glia. Examples of types of glia include astrocytes, ependymal cells, microglial cells, oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells.

Further information about each of the basic types of animal tissue is included on the pages indicated.

More about Tissue Types

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