Flagella vs Cilia
Cilia and Flagella are tiny structures appended to eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells of organisms. These structures help in locomotion of cells. They are made up of microtubules that are also called basal bodies. There are many similarities in structures and chemistry of flagella and cilia though there are many differences that will be talked about in this article.
In case of single celled organisms called eukaryotes, both cilia and flagella are vital for the locomotion of the cell (organism). In the case of multicellular organisms, cilia and flagella still have important role to play as they help in movement of fluids and other materials past a stationary cell while performing the function of moving a cell or a group of cells also. If we take the case of human beings, the respiratory tract is found to be filled with cilia that help in preventing dust, smog and other harmful materials from entering lungs. Flagella are mostly found in gametes. They also create water currents like cilia to help in transportation of materials.
What is the difference between Flagella and Cilia
• Usually flagella are one per organism whereas there are many cilia per organism.
• Cilia are smaller in size while flagella are long whip like structures.
• Whereas cilia beat in coordinated rhythms, flagella beat in an independent fashion.
• While both are locomotory organelles, cilia are in Paramoecium, flagella are in Euglena.
• They also differ in the source of energy required for locomotion purpose.
• While cilia help in movement of cells through energy they obtain from a molecule called Kinesin, flagella obtain their energy from plasma membrane.
• The movements of cilia resemble the breast stroke of swimmers while the movement of flagella looks like the movement of oar.