What are cilia and flagella?

3 Answers | Add Yours

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Cilia and flagella are two types of structures that may be present on cells. Both are used for movement by individual cells.

A cilium (cilia is the plural term for more than one cilium) is a structure that sticks out from the cell wall. Large numbers of motile cilia cover the surface of some cells in the human body; these cilia create movement of substances going past the cell. A human's trachea, or windpipe, is lined with motile cilia; the movement of the cilia is important in the process of removing dirt and mucus from the lungs.

Most human cells have one primary, or non-motile, cilium. These cell parts serve many important functions, dependent upon the specific organ in which the cell is located.

The current scientific understanding of primary cilia views them as "sensory cellular antennae that coordinate a large number of cellular signaling pathways, sometimes coupling the signaling to ciliary motility or alternatively to cell division and differentiation."

A flagellum (flagella is the plural) is a whip-like structure that is attached to the cell wall. The primary function of flagella is to help the cell move. Male sperm, for example, move through the female reproductive organs because of the movements of their flagella.

kavya--kammana's profile pic

kavya--kammana | Student, Grade 12 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

  • cilia is hair like structure which helps unicellular organisms such as parameosium and flagella is the part of euglena which helps in movement and locomotion¬†
nancy167's profile pic

nancy167 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

Cilia are the tiny hairs like structure. Cilia and Flagella are the locomotory organ of the cell. Cilia are micro tubules based hair-like organelles that extend from the surface of almost all cell types of the human body. flagella is a long hair like structure that projects from the cell body of certain prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and functions in locomotion. Structurally both the organelles are same. But we can find the difference in their function and the length of the cell. The movement in the body of cilia and flagella created by the micro tubules sliding past one another. Cilia are mostly found in Eukaryotic cells like animal cells, plant cells, not single celled organisms. Flagella present in both prokaryotic as well as Eukaryotic cells.

We’ve answered 317,544 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question