Fungi and Animalia are two of the five kingdoms of living organisms. Fungi were initially classified as plants as they could not move like animals. However, Moore gave the name Fungi for the kingdom. Fungi and animals are believed to be closely related. Besides several similarities, they also have a few differences. One of the major differences between fungi and animals is the absence of a cell wall in the animal cell. Moreover, animals possess motility whereas fungi lack it. Let’s tell you more about the differences between fungi and animals in detail.
What are Fungi?
Contrary to the initial classification, fungi are not autotrophs. Fungi are heterotrophic eukaryotic organisms that lack mobility. They feed on dead matter and are known as decomposers. Fungi are an important part of the food cycle as they are responsible for utilizing dead matter. Fungi have a cell wall. Yet, the composition of fungi cell wall differs from the plant cell wall. Fungi are of four types;
Fungi belonging to Zygomycota feed off decaying animal and plant material. They typically reproduce asexually through spores. You may find zygomycetes in daily life in the form of bread mold. They appear as one large cell with several nuclei due to a lack of septa.
Basidiomycetes are also known as club fungi because of their shape. They reproduce sexually and their spores (Basidiospores) develop in Basidia. A common example of Basidiomycota fungi is mushrooms.
Ascomycota is trouble-causing fungi and causes several infections in humans. Even though the human body has some ascomycetes that contribute to the natural flora. Ascomycota fungi either reproduce asexually or sexually through Asci. Examples of ascomycetes include ringworms, athlete’s foot, etc.
Deutromycetes are imperfect fungi that do not fit the exact definition of fungi. Most of these fungi reproduce through special spores called Conidia. Some have a septate mycelium, whereas a few have a unicellular thallus.
What are Animals?
Animals are multicellular heterotrophs that can move from one place to another. They account for more than three-quarters of the living organisms on Earth. They are believed to evolve from unicellular eukaryotes. Unlike plants and fungi, animals do not have a cell wall. They cannot produce their own food and depend on other providers for survival. Some animals are herbivores that eat plants.
Alternatively, some are carnivores and eat other animals. The food digests through the digestive system giving them the required nutrients. Animals also typically have cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, and skeletomuscular systems. The skeleton and muscles enable movement. They are absent in other kingdoms. Animals have two major categories; vertebrates and invertebrates. They are further divided into six classes.
Mammals are considered to be the most vastly revolutionized animals. However, they are not as diverse as other classes. There are only 5,000 species of animals known so far. The main characteristics of mammals are:
- Mammals are warm-blooded animals.
- Mammals have fur on their bodies.
- They give birth to their young ones.
- They have mammary glands to feed their children.
Reptiles’ scaly, mostly dry skin distinguishes them from other animal classes. Reptiles are of four types;
- Crocodiles and alligators,
- Tortoises and turtles.
Unlike mammals, they are cold-blooded animals. Some of them live on land while others live on the water. The main characteristics of this class are:
- They are cold-blooded animals.
- Reptiles lay eggs.
- They come to the surface of the land to obtain sun rays.
- Reptiles may lay their eggs away from water bodies.
Amphibians are somehow similar to reptiles. They can also be seen in the water and on land. Yet, they prefer staying in the water. They have soft, slimy skin that needs moisture to maintain its texture. Amphibians are one of the most endangered animals today. They have some distinct characteristics, like
- Amphibians have a semi-aquatic lifestyle.
- They typically lay eggs in water bodies.
Fish are thought to be the first proper vertebrates that evolved from invertebrates. Numerous fish species are categorized into three main types; bony fish, cartilaginous fish, and jawless fish. Fishes have a scaly, long body usually. They stay in the water and lay eggs that mature to become fishes. The main features of this class are:
- Fishes live in the water.
- They typically have scaly bodies. Some may be slimy as well.
- They are found abundantly globally.
- Fish lay their eggs in water in large quantities.
- Many fishes are a delicacy in various parts of the world.
Birds and insects are the only organisms that can fly. As opposed to insects, birds are vertebrates and warm-blooded. They can fly long distances for shelter and food. Scientists believe that birds have evolved from dinosaurs. Some of the most prominent characteristics of birds are:
- They are warm-blooded vertebrates.
- They can fly.
- Birds lay eggs.
- They can adapt to various environments.
Insects are Invertebrates and account for over 97% of the total animal species on Earth. They lack a proper internal structure, and most have a shell. Their bodies are not as highly structured as animals, birds, amphibians, or reptiles. Invertebrates are smaller in size than others. They have the following features:
- Invertebrates are cold-blooded.
- They do not have a backbone.
- Invertebrates reproduce sexually.
- They do not have a highly-organized structure.
Similarities Between Fungi and Animals
- Fungi and animals are both Eukaryotic, multicellular organisms.
- They are heterotrophs and depend on other organisms for food.
- Both of them are not producers in the food chain.
- Fungi and some animals have chitin that plants do not have.
Difference Between Fungi and Animals
Fungi are spore-producing organisms that feed on dead matter.
Animals are multicellular organisms that can move from one place to another.
Fungi belong to the kingdom of Fungi.
Whereas animals belong to Kingdom Animalia.
Fungi are widely divided into four or more types. The most common four divisions of fungi include Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Zygomycota, and Deuteromycota.
Animals are widely divided into two types; vertebrates and invertebrates. Vertebrates further include birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.
Fungi usually have tubular filaments called Hyphae inside the cell wall. They branch to form the mycelium that makes up the thallus.
On the contrary, animals (except invertebrates) have a backbone, muscular system, skeletal system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and reproductive system.
Food Chain Placement
Fungi are known as decomposers as they break down dead material. They are typically the last in the food chain.
On the other hand, animals are consumers in the food chain. They either eat producers (plants) or other animals.
One of the major differences between fungi and animals is mobility. Fungi are immobile.
At the same time, animals can move from one place to another because of their skeletomuscular system.
Fungi have a cell wall made up of chitin.
Nevertheless, animals do not have cell walls.
Fungi secrete digestive enzymes to break down the material before ingestion.
Contrarily, animals ingest food by the action of enzymes in the saliva and bile.
Fungi exhibit parasitic activity in plants and animals. One such example is the athlete’s foot.
In contrast, animals (except invertebrates) do not typically exhibit parasitic activity.
Fungi reproduce sexually and asexually by producing spores.
In comparison, animals reproduce sexually. The offspring attains characteristics from both parents through the DNA.
Fungi have a dominant haploid lifecycle.
Alternatively, animals have a diploid dominant life cycle with haploid phases in gametes.
Fungi have a long dikaryotic phase. It is quite dominant in Basidiomycota.
As opposed to fungi, animals do not possess a dikaryotic phase.
Humans, sparrows, crocodiles, and mollusks are examples of animals.
The Bottom Line
Fungi and animals are vital to the sustenance of life as they play vital roles in the food chain. Animals consume the food made by producers and act as food for other animals. On the other hand, fungi act as decomposers to break down dead matter and release nutrients. Both are multicellular, eukaryotic, and heterotrophs. Animals have mobility, while fungi lack it. They vary widely in structure and function. Humans belong to the Kingdom Animalia, whereas mushrooms are examples of fungi.
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