Plants and animals form the biotic components of the ecosystem. They are in continuous interaction with each other which can either be beneficial or harmful. Both plants and animals are categorized as multicellular, eukaryotes. As per new estimates, there are approximately 8.7 million species on earth distributed across land and water.
Plants are deemed as the primary source of food as they can produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis. Plants are hence called as autotrophs. Animals, on the other hand, depend upon plants for their nutritional requirements as they cannot synthesize their own food and hence are referred to as heterotrophs. Plants can be distinguished from animals on the basis of many characteristics, but there are certain attributes that make them unique in themselves.
Difference Between Plants And Animals
Not only can plants be differentiated at the physical level but can be distinguished at the cellular level too. Some striking features exhibited, can help to differentiate plants from animals. Listed below is the difference between plants and animals.
- Plants are deep-rooted in the ground and hence are immobile, except for Chlamydomonas and Volvox. Animals show movement. Locomotion in animals is brought about by legs in terrestrial animals, through fins in aquatic animals and through wings in aerial animals. However, some animals like Corals and Sponges are exceptions.
- In animals, there is a distinct digestive system that aids in proper digestion of food materials and is stored in them in the form of glycogen, unlike plants which store food in the form of starch(carbohydrates).
- Plants take in carbon dioxide to release oxygen. This exchange of gases is brought about by stomata. But in animals, it is the complete opposite. Animals inhale oxygen to exhale carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This process is referred to as respiration. In animals, respiration occurs through gills, lungs, skin, etc.
- Plants and animals almost exhibit the same cellular structure but there are a few organelles such as plasmodesmata, cell walls, plastids, chloroplast that are exclusively found in a plant cell only. Animals cells do not have a cell wall, instead, have cilia which has adapted to perform other important functionalities.
- Plant growth is not restricted and they grow indefinitely. They are able to do so because of the presence of specialized meristems which grows continually because of which we are able to obtain fruits and flowers from them over seasons. Animals, on the other hand, are limited in their growth. Beyond a certain age, they stop growing further, however, their body parts start degenerating causing their body to shrink.
The differences mentioned above help us in extrapolating various intrinsic details which help us in understanding their structure and composition better such as, a difference in plant cell and animal cell structure, is the presence of plastids in plants.
Plastids are physiologically and phylogenetically related organelles found in plants which contribute to plant development and growth. Plastids have a double membrane and is a striking characteristic they possess. They store and manufacture food and are hence involved in the production of lipids and amino acids and assist in photosynthesis
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