Cilia and also flagella are cell oribel that room structurally comparable but room differentiated based on their duty and/or length. Cilia room short and also there room usually many (hundreds) cilia every cell. On the various other hand, flagella are longer and also there space fewer flagella every cell (usually one to eight). Though eukaryotic flagella and also motile cilia are structurally identical, the beating sample of the two organelles deserve to be different. The movement of flagella is frequently undulating and also wave-like, conversely, the motile cilia regularly perform a more complex 3D motion with a power and recovery stroke.

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Comparison chart

Cilia versus Flagella comparison chart
CiliaFlagellaDefinition Cross ar Length Motion Density Found in Etymology
Cilia are short, hair prefer appendages expanding from the surface of a life cell. Flagella are long, threadlike appendages ~ above the surface ar of a living cell.
Nexin arm present. Nexin arm absent.
Short Longer 보다 cilia, can vary
Rotational, like a motor, an extremely fast moving Wave-like, undulating, sinusoidal, slow-moving movement compared to cilia
Many (hundreds) every cell Few (less 보다 10) every cell
Eukaryotic cells Eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells
Pronounced together ‘silly-ah’, is the plural of cilium. From Latin word for eyelash. Pronounced together ‘fla-gel-ah’, is the plural of flagellum. From Latin word for whip.

Video Explaining the Difference

This video clip explains the difference in between cilia and also flagella, as well as the function and framework of these cell organelles.

Differences in structure



Eukaryotic motile cilium and also flagellum room structurally identical. Every is a bundle of ripe fused bag of microtubule doublets bordering two main single microtubules. The motion of both cilia and flagella is brought about by the interaction of this microtubules.

In non-motile or main cilia the two central single microtubules space absent. So the central bundle is composed of 9 + 0 microtubules. In prokaryotes cells the flagella are filamentous protein frameworks composed that flagellin. Prokaryotic flagella are lot thinner than eukaryotic flagella, and they lack the typical 9 + 2 setup of microtubules.

Types that cilia and also flagella


There two species of cilia - motile and also non-motile or major cilia.

Non-motile or major cilia are discovered in nearly every cell in every mammals and as the name suggests these perform not beat. They can be discovered in person sensory organs such as the eye and also the nose. Motile cilia are found on the surface of cells and also they to win in a rhythmic manner. They deserve to be discovered in the lining that the trachea (windpipe), wherein they sweep mucus and also dirt out of the lungs. In woman mammals, the beating the cilia in the fallopian tubes move the ovum native the ovary come the uterus.

There space three types of flagella - bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic.

Archaeal flagella are similar to bacterial flagella however they have actually a distinctive structure i m sorry lacks a main channel. Eukaryotic flagella are complex cellular projections that lash earlier and forth. (e.g., the sperm cell, which supplies its flagellum to propel itself through the mrs reproductive tract.

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Lack of proper functioning that cilia and flagella can cause several troubles in human being beings. Because that example,

If the cilia in the fallopian tubes are not functioning effectively then the fertilized ovum will not with the uterus and also thus result in ectopic pregnancy. A defect that the major cilium in the renal tube cells have the right to lead to polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Flagellum dysfunction can additionally be responsible for masculine infertility since the sperm is not motile and cannot swim come the ovum.


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