Difference Between Parthenogenesis and Hermaphroditism

Parthenogenesis vs Hermaphroditism

There are various different reproductive strategies present among animals as well as among plants. All the reproductive strategies can be categorized into two types; sexual and asexual reproduction. The most common reproduction method is the sexual reproduction, where male gamete (sperm) and female gamete (ovum) are required to produce a haploid gamete by fertilization. Once the diploid gamete is formed, it develops into a new multicellular organism through the mitotic division. Most organisms including human can produce offspring by sexual reproduction. During the asexual reproduction, identical cells are produced only through the mitosis. Meiosis does not occur during the asexual reproduction. Parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism are two different forms of reproductive strategies. These are more like incomplete forms of sexual reproduction as they lack certain characteristic features of true sexual reproduction process. However, both these reproductive forms are good adaptations for certain organisms, which indeed needed to protect their race.

What is Parthenogenesis?

Parthenogenesis is a different form of asexual reproduction method commonly found among many arthropods. In this process, females are able to produce offspring from their unfertilized eggs. Thus, no fertilization occurs during the parthenogenesis and no male gamete is involved. Some organisms are entirely parthenogenic, whereas some organisms are able to produce offspring through the parthenogenesis as well as sexual reproduction. For example, queen honey bee can store sperms and control over the release of sperms, which fertilize her own eggs. If sperms are released, the fertilized eggs always develop into worker female bees and other queens. On the other hand, if no sperms are released, unfertilized eggs are developed into male bees, known as drones. In vertebrates, parthenogenesis occurs among certain species of lizards.

What is Hermaphroditism?

Hermaphroditism is another different reproduction form which can be seen among the individual organisms who have both testes and ovaries. The organisms with this ability are called hermaphrodites. Since hermaphrodites have both male and female reproductive organs, they can produce both sperms and eggs within their body. This strategy is extremely helpful to some organisms. For example, tapeworms are hermaphrodites because it is very unlikely to meet another tapeworm within the same host. However, in many instances two hermaphrodites are required for reproduction, for example; earthworms. In addition, certain fish species live in the deep sea are also hermaphrodites. Some fish species, for example, coral reef fish are able to change their sex, based on their social control. This process is called sequential hermaphroditism.

What is the difference between Parthenogenesis and Hermaphroditism?

• Parthenogenesis is a form of asexual reproduction where no male gametes are involved when producing offspring. Hermaphroditism is a different form of sexual reproduction where both male and female gametes are fertilized to produce offspring.

• No fertilization occurs during the parthenogenesis whereas, self-fertilization occurs during the hermaphroditism.

• Parthenogenesis always occurs in an individual who can only produce female gametes (eggs), whereas hermaphroditism occurs in an individual who can produce both female and male gametes.