The main difference between epiphytes and parasites is that epiphytes are organisms that grow on the surface of a plant, whereas parasites are organisms that live on or in another organism. Furthermore, epiphytes do not depend on the host plant for water or nutrients while parasites depend on the host for nutrients, being harmful to the host.
Epiphytes and parasites are two types of organisms that depend on another organism for their living.
Key Areas Covered
1. What are Epiphytes
– Definition, Features, Examples
2. What are Parasites
– Definition, Features, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Epiphytes and Parasites
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Epiphytes and Parasites
– Comparison of Key Differences
Ectoparasites, Endoparasites, Epiphytes, Macroparasites, Parasites
What are Epiphytes
Epiphytes are organisms, especially plants, that live on other plants. They are sometimes called epibionts and air plants. Generally, they require physical support from other plants. However, they obtain water and nutrients from air, rain, other debris accumulating around the epiphyte. Epiphytes are essentially photosynthetic. Moreover, the roots or rhizoids tightly hold them to the host.
Furthermore, epiphytes are common in the temperate region. Some temperate zone epiphytes are mosses, liverworts, lichens, and algae. On the other hand, they are also common in the tropics. Some tropical epiphytes include many ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads. One of the main importance of epiphytes is that they add diversity and biomass to the ecosystems while providing rich and diverse habitats for other animals, fungi, and bacteria. They also take part in nutrient cycles. Additionally, epiphytes are good as houseplants due to their minimum requirement for soil and water.
What are Parasites
Parasites are the organisms that depend on the expenses of another organism called the host. Generally, annelids, arthropods, mollusks, nematodes, flatworms, and cnidarians are the major types of parasites. Moreover, plants, fungi, protozoa, bacteria, and viruses can also become parasites. However, they exhibit a lower organization than their host. The main feature of a parasite is that it reduces the fitness of the host by depending on its energy. Meanwhile, parasitism can cause diseases in the host as well as the death of the host.
Moreover, there are several types of parasites. Basically, endoparasites, ectoparasites, and macroparasites are the three types of parasites classified based on their location on the host. Here, endoparasites such as Leishmania, Plasmodium, Entamoeba live inside the host’s body while ectoparasites such as lice, mite, fleas, flies, bed bud live on the surface of the host. However, macroparasites such as copepods enter through an opening of the host and remain partially embedded there.
Similarities Between Epiphytes and Parasites
- Epiphytes and parasites are two types of organisms that depend on another organism for their living.
- Both types of organisms may get physical support from the host.
Difference Between Epiphytes and Parasites
Epiphytes refer to an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain or from debris accumulating around it while parasites refer to the organisms that live on or in another organism, the host, causing it some harm, and is adapted structurally to this way of life. Thus, this is the main difference between epiphytes and parasites.
Type of Living
Another major difference between epiphytes and parasites is that epiphytes live on the surface of a plant while parasites live in or on the host.
Type of Relationship
Moreover, epiphytes depend on the host plant for physical support, while parasites depend on the host for nutrients.
While epiphytes do not harm the host plant, parasites reduce the fitness of the host and may cause diseases.
Many ferns, orchids, cacti, bromeliads, many mosses, liverworts, lichens, algae, etc. are the examples of epiphytes while endoparasites, ectoparasites, macroparasites, etc. are the examples of parasites.
Epiphytes are the organisms, especially plants, that grow on other plants. Generally, they mainly obtain physical support from the host plant. However, they obtain water and nutrients from air and rain. Therefore, they do not harm the host plant. On the other hand, parasites are the organisms that live in or on the host organism, depending on the host for nutrients or water. Therefore, they reduce the physical fitness of the host and sometimes cause diseases in the host. Thus, parasites are harmful to the host. However, the main difference between epiphytes and parasites is the type of relationship they maintain with the host.
1. “Epiphytes and Parasites: Buy Trees Online.” Perfect Plants, 5 Sept. 2018, Available Here.
2. Dunn, Terry. “What Is a Parasite? – Definition, Types & Examples.” Study.com, Study.com, Available Here.