The key difference between higher fungi and lower fungi is that higher fungi contain septate hyphae, while lower fungi contain non-septate hyphae.
Fungi are eukaryotic, spore-bearing, achlorophyllous organisms that generally reproduce sexually and asexually. Fungi are made up of filamentous, branched somatic structures that are normally surrounded by cell walls containing chitin or cellulose, or both of these substances. They originated in the Precambrian period. Hyphae are the unit of structure of most fungi. They are tubular filaments that elongate by apical growth. One of the features of the classification of the fungi is the presence of septa in the hyphae of the fungi. Therefore, higher fungi and lower fungi are two types of fungi based on the presence and absence of septa in the hyphae.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Higher Fungi
3. What are Lower Fungi
4. Similarities – Higher Fungi and Lower Fungi
5. Higher Fungi vs. Lower Fungi in Tabular Form
6. FAQ – Higher Fungi and Lower Fungi
7. Summary – Higher Fungi vs Lower Fungi
What are Higher Fungi?
Higher fungi have hyphae that are well-developed, septate, and generally interwoven to a compact fruiting body in some stages of development. Some characteristics of higher fungi are that they have non-motile cells at any stage of development and cells with two types of nuclei in the life cycle (dikaryotic stage). Examples of higher fungi are ascomycetes, basidiomycetes, and deuteromycetes.
Ascomycetes contain ascus, which is a sac-like structure that has ascospores. Eight ascospores are generated within an ascus. Basidiomycetes are characterized by producing their sexual spores called basidiospores (4 in number) on a specialized, microscopic, spore-producing structure known as the basidium. Deuteromycetes are referred to as imperfect fungi because their only known reproductive mechanism is asexual.
What are Lower Fungi?
Lower fungi contain hyphae that lack septa and primarily reproduce by sporangiospores. The majority of these are aquatic, and some are amphibious and terrestrial. The special characteristics of lower fungi include a somatic phase consisting of either a unicellular thallus or a non-septate coenocytic mycelium. They undergo asexual reproduction through sporangiospores and sometimes by conidia. The spore-producing units are usually not grouped into a complex fructification, and there is no dikaryo phase in the life cycle.
Four classes of fungi are included in this group. Examples of lower fungi are chytridiomycetes, oomycetes, myxomycetes, and zygomycetes.
What are the Similarities Between Higher Fungi and Lower Fungi?
- Higher fungi and lower fungi are two types of fungi based on the presence and absence of septa in the hyphae.
- Both types have hyphae that produce spores for reproduction.
- These types show sexual and asexual reproduction.
- They live in diverse environments.
What is the Difference Between Higher Fungi and Lower Fungi?
Higher fungi contain septate hyphae, and lower fungi contain non-septate hyphae. Thus, this is the key difference between higher fungi and lower fungi. Furthermore, higher fungi habitats are terrestrial, parasitic, fresh water, marine habitats, soil, and decaying organic matter. On the other hand, lower fungi habitats are aquatic, amphibious, and terrestrial.
The infographic below presents the differences between higher fungi and lower fungi in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
FAQ: Higher Fungi and Lower Fungi
What is meant by lower fungi?
Lower fungi are the fungi with non-septate hyphae and do not produce fruiting bodies.
What is meant by fungi?
Fungi are eukaryotic, non-phototrophic living organisms with rigid cell walls. Examples are microorganisms such as yeasts, molds, and mushrooms
Is fungi a higher plant?
No, fungi are heterotrophic organisms and have cell walls composed of chitin, while higher plants are autotrophic organisms and have cell walls composed of cellulose.
Summary – Higher Fungi vs. Lower Fungi
Fungi are a distinctive group of eukaryotes. Fungi can be classified into two groups: higher fungi and lower fungi, based on the presence and absence of septate in their hyphae. Higher fungi contain septate hyphae, and lower fungi contain non-septate hyphae. Furthermore, examples of higher fungi are ascomycetes, basidiomycetes, and deuteromycetes. On the other hand, examples of lower fungi are chytridiomycetes, oomycetes, myxomycetes, and zygomycetes. Hence, this summarizes the difference between higher fungi and lower fungi.
1. “2019-10-20 (100) Unidentified Agaricomycetes (division of higher fungi) at Haltgraben, Tiefgrabenrotte, Frankenfels, Austria” By GT1976 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “7-3-13 184 WJD187” By TelosCricket – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia