Q:

What do flagella and cilia have in common?

A:

Quick Answer

Flagella and cilia have the exact same structures and functions, and the names merely indicate how many are present on a given cell. When found singly or in a pair, these cell protrusions are called flagella. Identical cell protrusions are called cilia if found in groups of three or more.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Each individual cilium or flagellum is constructed of a microtubule core extending from the plasma membrane of the cell. The microtubules are arranged in a specific pattern of nine pairs surrounding two singlet microtubules to allow for sliding. The sliding motion lets the flagellum or cilium bend, facilitating movement.

Movement in flagella and cilia begins at the base next to the cell surface and spreads out along the protrusion to the end in waves.

Flagella are found on sperm cells and on some algae, and they are used to propel the entire cell forward. Cilia are found embedded in the lining of the respiratory tract, where they sweep away debris and germs that enter the nose or mouth, and in the female reproductive tract. Some protozoa are covered in cilia and use them both for locomotion and for pulling in food. The smallest cilia and flagella are each just a few microns long, while the largest stretch over 2 millimeters long. Flagella typically grow longer than cilia.

Learn more about Biology

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of Ciliophora?

    A:

    Ciliophora is a large and diverse group, but all move via hair-like structures lining their pellicles, rigid structures protecting their outer membranes, known as cilia, and all have at least two major nuclei, along with minor nuclei used for sexual reproduction. This group is largely predatory, feeding on other single-celled organisms, although some are parasites on multicellular organisms. A few even survive solely on the nutrients from symbiotic photosynthetic bacteria.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What three factors limit cell size?

    A:

    Biosynthetic capacity, the nature of cell division machinery and the fact that cells grouped together form various organs and structures are factors thought to influence and limit cell size in animals. The full extent of the processes that regulate cell size are not fully understood.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the difference between cilia and flagella?

    A:

    The primary difference between cilia and flagella is how they are organized. Cilia and flagella are both flexible extensions that help cells move.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the three ways protists move?

    A:

    Protists move using cilia, flagella and pseudopodia. The method of locomotion varies depending on the type of protist species and where they live.

    Full Answer >

Explore