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Similarities and differences between plants and animals

Are plants, animals and other living things as different as we think? How much do they really look like? Plants, fungi and animals differ, but all three belong to the same domain, eukaryotic, in contrast to bacteria and archaea. Already within plants and animals, there are organisms that have a body organization superior to the rest, are higher organisms. So that you can learn more about these types of living beings, in this article, we review the similarities and differences between plants and animals in a simple way and with summary. Take note!


Similarities between plants and animals

We begin by explaining what these living beings have in common. Thus, some of the main similarities between plants and animals are:

They are living beings

Both plants and animals are living beings that are born, grow, feed, follow reproductive cycles and finally die, that is, they follow the so-called life cycle.

Both have eukaryotic cells

Unlike the prokaryotic cells of bacteria, plants and animals possess eukaryotic cells, with a well-defined nucleus and cytoplasmic organelles specialized in specific functions. Some organelles differ between the two, such as the presence of chloroplasts in plant cells and mitochondria in animals.

Learn more about their cells in this other article in which we explain the similarity and difference between animal and plant cells .

They need water, nutrients and sun

Both need to capture certain substances from the environment, with the only difference being the method they use. Thus, while animals ingest them with food, plants absorb them from the soil. This is the case of water and nutrients. In addition, both organisms need sunlight to live.


They have biochemical routes and biomolecules in common

In both plants and animals there are certain common cellular biochemical pathways. They also possess certain common biomolecules forming part of their organism and their cells.

Impulse movement capacity

Plants are unable to move or move through their environment as animals do, but they do have limited movement capacity to, for example, capture the highest light intensity in an area or the movement of the roots towards where the nutrients are located. For example, that plants grow or turn in the direction of the sun, is known as tropism and is one of its main capabilities to move by an impulse, as animals do with various things.


Differences between plants and animals

The differences between both kinds of organisms are diverse. These are the main differences between plants and animals that we can find:

Plants do not have appliances that animals do

Plants do not have locomotor, digestive, excretory, respiratory or nervous systems. Since plants can make their own organic substances directly, they do not need appliances that digest or serve for excretion.

The plants do not have respiratory system

Plants do not have a respiratory system like that of animals, but it is a structure called stoma which is responsible for transporting air from the subestomatic chamber to the interior of the organism, where gas exchange takes place.

The plants do not move

Plants are autotrophic organisms, that is, they manufacture their own food through the process of photosynthesis . The substances that the plant needs are sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, therefore all the substances that it needs for its nutrition are in the air and in the soil and therefore it does not need to move completely free. In addition, the locomotor apparatus of animals, which allows them to move, needs a nervous system and organs of the senses that plants do not have.

The cells of plants have a cell wall

Another characteristic that differentiates animal plants is in their cells. Plant cells have rigid cell walls that limit changes in shape and movement, while animals do not. The animal cells are able to change shape and move a bit in their internal environment.

The internal circulation of liquids

As in animals, there is a liquid transport system in plants. However, in animals this process is carried out by means of the blood that runs through a circulatory system, driven by the force of the pumping of the heart. In the plants this process is carried out by the sap and other liquids that circulate through a system of tubes, which is not called the circulatory system. In addition, the plants do not possess a pump comparable to the heart.

Plants grow almost unlimited

Unlike animals, plants have a potentially unlimited growth. Plants grow during their life by the activity of meristematic tissues. Instead, animals grow to a predetermined size in their genetics.

The social organization in animals

Unlike plants, animals can develop systems of societies, in which their individuals play a specific role in society. An example of this are bee hives or ant societies.

Plants can reproduce asexually

Most plants can reproduce without fusion of sex cells or gametes, in addition to sexually, while in animals, asexual reproduction is very rare, only occurs in very inferior animals such as starfish. Unlike sexual reproduction, the asexual does not generate genetic variability, so the children are identical to the individual from which they descend. Examples of this reproduction in plants is the generation of new plants by cuttings or by parts of another plant.


Summary of the similarities and differences between plants and animals

To finish, these are the similarities and differences between plants and animals as a summary :


  • Both are formed with eukaryotic cells.
  • Both animals and plants are living beings.
  • The two types of living beings need water, nutrients and sunlight to survive.
  • They have biochemical pathways and certain similar biomolecules.
  • Both plants and animals have the ability to move guided by impulses.


  • The plants do not have or need digestive devices, nor of excretion, respiration, locomotors or others that the animals do.
  • Plants do not move, animals do.
  • The cells of plants have a cell wall.
  • The internal circulation of liquids is different.
  • The plants grow practically unlimited, but the animals have a specific size.
  • There is social organization in animals and in plants there is not.
  • Plants can reproduce asexually, whereas animals mainly reproduce sexually and very few do so asexually, being lower animals in evolution.

Broadly speaking, we can see that there are more differences than similarities between plants and animals.

Similarity and difference between animal and plant cell

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