The key difference between dichogamy and herkogamy is that dichogamy refers to sequential hermaphroditism, while herkogamy refers to the interference between male and female functions in plants.
Dichogamy and herkogamy are two phenomena that depict adaptations shown by plants for sexual reproduction. However, we can also observe dichogamy in animals. They refer to the developmental procedures of the male and female sex.
What is Dichogamy?
Dichogamy is a type of sequential hermaphroditism that takes place in fish, gastropods and plants. Sequential hermaphroditism is the process where an organism changes sex at one point of the lifetime. Thus, in this context, the organism produces the male and female gametes at different points of their life. This takes place during the reproductive cycle.
In animals, dichogamy can be of two forms. Protandry is the form in which a male turns into a female. Protogyny is the process where a female turns into a male. Here, a switch between functional organisms takes place. Moreover, in plants, dichogamy is the phenomenon where the two sexes develop at different time-lapses. However, as a whole, both male and female flowers may open up at any time. Similar to animals, the protandrous flowers develop the male parts first followed by female parts. Furthermore, protogynous flowers develop the female parts first followed by males.
What is Herkogamy?
Herkogamy is a phenomenon shown by angiosperms. The main function of herkogamy is to reduce the sexual interference between male and female function. It interferes between anther and stigma function. Moreover, herkgamy provides a spatial separation of the anther and the stigma.
There are two common forms of herkogamy. They are Approach Herkogamy and Reverse Herkogamy. Approach herkogamy is the phenomenon where the stigma is placed above the anther. This allows the pollinating agents to first come into contact with the stigma followed by the anther. It allows self-fertilization. Reverse herkogamy, on the other hand, is the arrangement where the stigma is placed below the anther. Furthermore, the pollinating agents first reside on the anther, followed by the stigma.
What is the Difference Between Dichogamy and Herkogamy?
The key difference between dichogamy and herkogamy relies on the fact that dichogamy can be seen in both plants and animals, while herkogamy is only seen in plants. Furthermore, dichogamy refers to the sequential hermaphroditism where there is a sequential development of the male and female sex. In contrast, herkogamy refers to the interference between the male and female gametes of angiosperms.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between dichogamy and herkogamy.
Summary – Dichogamy vs Herkogamy
Dichogamy and herkogamy are mainly adaptations shown by angiosperms. In other words, these concepts revolve around the concept of sexual reproduction in angiosperms. However, we can also observe dichogamy in animals. Dichogamy explains the development of sequential hermaphroditism. In contrast, herkogamy explains the development of male gametes (anther) and female gametes (stigma) in plants. They have different forms which further explain the developmental sequences. So, this is the summary of the difference between dichogamy and herkogamy.