Cilia differ from flagella in that

By John
3 Min Read

Cilia and flagella are cell organelles having similar structure but differ in their function and length. Cilia are short in size and are present in large number in the cell. On the other side, flagella are longer in size and are few per cell. Learn the difference between cilia and flagella here.

Cilia has slender, microscopic, short hair like structure whereas flagella have long hair like filamentous cytoplasmic complex structure. Both are the most common organelles and have locomotive structures. They are found in unicellular organisms. They also help in processes like respiration, circulation, excretion, etc.

Cilia and flagella are found in eukaryotic cells whereas, flagella are also present in prokaryotic cells. Cilia are found in paramecium organism and flagella are present in bacteria and sperm cells.

Let us discuss the key differences between these two structures.

Difference Between Cilia And Flagella
Character Cilia Flagella
Definition Cilia are short, hair like cell organelle extending from the surface of a living cell. Flagella are long, threadlike cell organelle present on the surface of a living cell.
Found in It is found in Eukaryotic cell. It is found in Prokaryotic cell as well as in eukaryotic cells.
Length Cilia is short and hair like organelle (5-10µ) in length. Flagella is long wipe like organelle (150µ) in length.
Thickness Cilia is around 0.3 to 0.5 um thick. Flagella is around 0.02 to 0.025 um thin.
Position It is present throughout the surface of cell. It is present at both the ends or all over the surface.
Density It is present in many (hundreds) per cell. It is present in few (less than 10) per cell.
Motion The motion of cilia is rotational, very fast moving. The motion of flagella is rotary movement in prokaryotes whereas it is bending movement in eukaryotes.
Beating Cilia beat in coordination or one after the other. Flagella beat independent of each other.
Functions It helps in locomotion, aeration, feeding circulation, etc. It helps mainly in locomotion only.
Examples It is present in Paramecium. It is present in Salmonella.
Cilia
Cilia are short, slender, hair-like organelle extending from the surface of the living cell. It is most active during cell cycle progression and growth. The width of the cilium is around 0.3 to 0.5 um, and the length is 5-10µ.

Cilia are found in almost all eukaryotic cells. Cilia help in the overall development of the body and functions in a cell. It is further divided into two types, Motile and Non-Motile Cilia.

Types of Cilia
Motile Cilia