The key difference between apothecium and cleistothecia is that apothecium is capable of shooting out spores while cleistothecia are not capable of shooting out spores.
Ascomycota is one of the phyla of fungi. They possess different structures to hold the spores. Furthermore, upon maturation, they are capable of releasing the spores to the external environment. These spores are then capable of developing new organisms. Overall, apothecium and cleistothecia are two types of structures that bear spores of Ascomycota fungi.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Apothecium
3. What is Cleistothecia
4. Similarities Between Apothecium and Cleistothecia
5. Side by Side Comparison – Apothecium vs Cleistothecia in Tabular Form
What is Apothecium?
Apothecium is present in the phylum Ascomycota. Apothecia are cup-shaped structures. But, they can remain close for a long time and then appear in an elongated shape. Their texture can vary from smooth to rough texture. Further, the diameter of the apothecium is about a centimetre. They also have the ability to shoot out spores to a larger area. Besides, asci are present in the apothecium.
The ascospores released from the apothecium use air as a medium to discharge. Therefore, these spores germinate to give rise to new fungal bodies.
What is Cleistothecia?
Cleistothecia refer to a structure of fungi that completely encloses their asci within the body. Furthermore, the walls of the cleistothecia break upon maturation and release the spores to the environment. Therefore, the asci of the cleistothecia are not capable of shooting out the spores as in apothecia. They are also present in fungi of the phylum Ascomycota.
Cleistothecia are either club-shaped or spherical structures. Their walls dissolve at maturity. It is an adaptation shown by the cleistothecial to facilitate the release of spores. Moreover, the spores embed in basket-like walls. These allow the spores to slowly sift out upon maturation.
What are the Similarities Between Apothecium and Cleistothecia?
- Both are found in fungi belonging to the phylum Ascomycota.
- They are spore-bearing structures.
- Moreover, both are important in the life cycle of fungi to facilitate reproduction.
- Besides, both are associated with asci.
What is the Difference Between Apothecium and Cleistothecia?
The key difference between apothecium and cleistothecia is their ability to shoot out spores at maturity; apothecium can shoot out spores at maturity while cleistothecia lack the ability to shoot out spores. There is also a difference between apothecium and cleistothecia in the shape of their structures and asci characteristics.
The below infographic presents more information regarding the difference between apothecium and cleistothecia.
Summary – Apothecium vs Cleistothecia
Phylum Ascomycota belongs to the kingdom fungi. They are produced via ascospores. Moreover, there are different ascospore bearing structures among the species of the phylum Ascomycota. Apothecium and cleistothecia are two such structures. Apothecium bears spores and shoots out spores at maturity to release the spores to the environment while cleistothecia cannot shoot out spores. Thus, upon maturity, the walls burst or dissolve to release the spores to the environment. They also differ in their shape and asci characteristics. So, this summarizes the difference between apothecium and cleistothecia.
1. “Discussion of the Ascomycota.” The Mycology Web Pages. New Brunswick Museum. Available Here.