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Difference between Antheridia and Archegonia


Bryophytes and pteridophytes are lesser-known plant categories besides the well-known gymnosperms and angiosperms. These plant groups include ferns and mosses, which differ from shrubs, bushes, trees, and other tall plants. Pteridophytes are vascular plants while non-vascular consists of bryophytes. They comprise antheridia and archegonia, which are involved in sexual reproduction in bryophytes and pteridophytes. Antheridia are the male parts involved in reproduction while archegonia are female counterparts. Let’s tell you more about the difference between antheridia and archegonia.

Comparison Table

DefinitionMale reproductive partFemale reproductive part
FunctionSperm productionEgg production
ComponentsOuter jacket, cubic
spermatozoal sperm cells
Venter and Canal cells
of Gametes
Sterile CellsAbsentPresent
GymnospermsPollen grainsStructures in

What are Antheridia?

Antheridium, plural antheridia, are male sex organs in bryophytes and pteridophytes. They produce male gametes in cryptogams to facilitate sexual reproduction. Antheridia are contained in structures called androecium. An antheridium is a haploid structure that produces male gametes known as sperms or antherozoids. Antheridia are mainly only found in the gametophyte of ferns, mosses, algae, and bryophytes. The antheridia in types of gymnosperms and angiosperms produce pollen grains, forming a single generative cell.

Antheridia are club-shaped, comprising spermatogenous tissue and sterile cells. The spermatogenous tissues undergo mitosis through cytokinesis to give rise to spermatids, while the sterile cells act as a protective covering. The cryptogams contain motile sperm; thus, these plants require water for fertilization.


What is Archegonia?

Archegonia are also parts of bryophytes and pteridophytes. However, they are involved in the production of female gametes in cryptogams. The female gametes produced by archegonia are known as ova or eggs. They are found in the thallus of the gametophyte and are smaller in gymnosperms. The archegonia in gymnosperms are embedded in megagametophytes. These structures in both gymnosperms and cryptograms produce only one cell or egg. The motile sperms swim through the water films to reach the archegonia.

Archegonium looks flask-like in shape and comprises a base and a venter. The venter is the long neck-type structure that contains the venter canal cells and eggs. Six vertical rows of neck cells surrounded the neck canal cell. The ovule is present in the nucleus or megasporangium diploid cells in gymnosperms. The ovule has the female germ cells or eggs that are fertilized by the sperms later.


Similarities between Antheridia and Archegonia

  • They are reproductive structures in pteridophytes and bryophytes
  • Both structures give rise to sex gametes
  • Antheridium and archegonium are haploid structures
  • They do not exhibit their reproduction processes openly

Differences between Antheridia and Archegonia



They are the male reproductive structures in cryptogams.


On the other hand, they are present as the female reproductive structures in cryptogams.



Antheridia are present in the androecium.


On the contrary, archegonia are located within the gynoecium.



Antheridia give rise to the male gametes, also known as sperms.


Archegonia, in contrast, are responsible for the production of female gametes or eggs.



They are club-shaped, shorter structures on a multicellular stalk.


Archegonia have a comparatively longer flask-shaped structure on a shorter stalk.



Antheridium has an outer jacket-like covering with numerous cubic spermatozoal sperm mother cells.


On the other side, archegonia comprises the venter that encloses the canal cells and the eggs.

Number of Gametes


Antheridia give rise to a large number of male gametes.


Archegonia produces only one female gamete or egg.



Antheridia give rise to motile sperm cells that travel toward the ovum.


Archegonia, in contrast, produces immotile eggs that do not travel; the sperms travel through water to fertilize the eggs.

Sterile Cells


Antheridia do not contain sterile cells.


Sterile cells are actively present in archegonia.



Pollen grains replace antheridia in gymnosperms.


The megagametophytes have reduced structures embedded in them in place of archegonia.

The Bottom Line

Antheridia and archegonia are reproductive structures in cryptogams. The main difference between antheridia and archegonia is that they produce male and female gametes respectively. Antheridia are male reproductive structures, while archegonia are female reproductive organs in bryophytes. The former gives birth to male gametes, sperms that travel through water for fertilization. Similarly, the latter produces female gametes called eggs that are immotile. They contribute to sexual reproduction in bryophytes and pteridophytes.


What is the difference between archegonium and archegonia?

Archegonium and archegonia are the same structures but differ in singular and plural forms. Archegonium refers to a single structure, while archegonia are plural. They are present on the surface of plant thallus and look like a long flask. They produce female gametes called eggs.

What plants have archegonia and antheridia?

Archegonia and antheridia are parts of bryophytes and pteridophytes. Bryophytes are the amphibians of the plant kingdom, living in the soil but using water for fertilization. The sperms from the antheridia use water to reach the archegonia for fertilization.

Is archegonium haploid or diploid?

Archegonium and antheridium are haploid structures formed by the megasporangium. They contribute to the production of female gametes (eggs) in cryptogams.

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