The key difference between parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism is that the parthenogenesis is a reproductive strategy which shows the development of an embryo from an unfertilized ovum while hermaphroditism is a reproductive strategy of organisms that possess both male and female reproductive organs.
All reproductive strategies can be categorized into two main types: sexual and asexual reproduction. The most common reproduction method is sexual reproduction in which male and female gametes unite with each other in order to produce a diploid zygote. Hence, this is the process called fertilization. After fertilization and formation of the zygote, zygote develops into a new multicellular organism through mitotic division. Most organisms including human can produce offspring via sexual reproduction. On the other hand, asexual reproduction does not need two parents and gametes. Asexual reproduction produces genetically identical offspring via mitosis. Moreover, meiosis does not occur during 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 the true sexual reproduction process. However, both these reproductive forms are good adaptations for certain organisms.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Parthenogenesis
3. What is Hermaphroditism
4. Similarities Between Parthenogenesis and Hermaphroditism
5. Side by Side Comparison – Parthenogenesis vs Hermaphroditism in Tabular Form
What is Parthenogenesis?
Parthenogenesis is a different form of asexual reproduction method commonly found among many arthropods. In this process, the females are able to produce offspring from their unfertilized eggs. Thus, fertilization does not occur during parthenogenesis. Also, male gametes do not participate in parthenogenesis.
Some organisms are entirely parthenogenic whereas some organisms are able to produce offspring through parthenogenesis as well as through sexual reproduction. For example, the queen honey bee can store sperms and has 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 develop into male bees known as drones. In vertebrates, parthenogenesis occurs among certain species of lizards.
What is Hermaphroditism?
Hermaphroditism is another reproduction form which can be seen among individual organisms that possess 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 use this method because it is very unlikely to meet another tapeworm within the same host. However, in many instances, reproduction requires two hermaphrodites; for example, earthworms.
In addition, certain fish species that live in the deep sea are also hermaphrodites. Some fish species, coral reef fish, for example, are able to change their sex based on their social control. We call this process sequential hermaphroditism.
What are the Similarities Between Parthenogenesis and Hermaphroditism?
- Parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism are two types of reproductive strategies.
- Gamete production is necessary for each process.
What is the Difference Between Parthenogenesis and Hermaphroditism?
Parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism are two forms of reproduction we can notice in different organisms. Parthenogenesis refers to the process of producing offspring from an unfertilized egg without the involvement of a male gamete. Whereas, hermaphroditism is a reproductive strategy of organisms that possess both male and female reproductive organs. So, this is the key difference between parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism.
In parthenogenesis, ovum does not fuse with the male gamete. But, in hermaphroditism, both male and female gametes fertilize to produce offspring. Hence, no fertilization occurs during the parthenogenesis whereas self-fertilization occurs during the hermaphroditism. Therefore, this is a vital difference between parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism. Stemming from this difference is another difference between parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism. That is; the 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.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism in tabular form.
Summary – Parthenogenesis vs Hermaphroditism
Parthenogenesis is a form of reproduction in which an ovum develops into an embryo without fertilization with sperm. Whereas, hermaphroditism refers to a reproductive mechanism shown by the bisexual organisms. They possess both male and female reproductive organs, hence produce both types of gametes. Earthworms, corals, tapeworms, certain fishes show hermaphroditism while lizards, bees and some plants show parthenogenesis. Thus, this summarizes the difference between parthenogenesis and hermaphroditism.