Difference Between Thallus and Prothallus | Thallus vs Prothallus

The key difference between thallus and prothallus is that thallus is an undifferentiated filamentous gametophyte of algae, fungi, lichens, and some liverworts while prothallus is the heart-shaped gametophyte of pteridophytes such as club mosses, horsetails, and ferns.

Thallus is a non-differentiated plant body present in algae, fungi, lichens, and some liverworts.  Prothallus, in contrast, is a heart-shaped thallus-like structure present in ferns. Both structures do not differentiate into root, stem or leaves. In prothallus, antheridia and archegonia are present. Hence, they only reproduce sexually. These specialized sex organs are not present in thallus.


1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Thallus
3. What is Prothallus
4. Similarities Between Thallus and Prothallus
5. Side by Side Comparison – Thallus vs Prothallus in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What is Thallus?

Thallus is a non-differentiated plant body commonly found in algae. Hence, thallus does not have roots, stem, and leaves. Apart from algae, thallus can be seen in fungi, some liverworts, and lichens. The fungal thallus is the mycelium. However, in lichens, thallus is the vegetative body.

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