What Are the Differences Between Kingdom Fungi & Animalia?

By Mark Orwell
Members of the kingdom fungi have important differences that set them apart from the members of the kingdom animalia.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

There are five major classifications of biological organisms on Earth, called kingdoms. Two of these are the kingdoms fungi and animalia. The members of these kingdoms share unique and diverse characteristics. Human beings, other mammals, invertebrates and other animals all fall under the kingdom animalia, while the kingdom fungi contains the lichen, mold, fungi and similar organisms. The two kingdoms share a number of distinct differences.

Consumption and Digestion

Modes of obtaining nutrition through food are different between fungi and animals. Animals must hunt for their food. Fungi must feed on wherever they grow. Animals break down food through chewing and then must allow that food to travel through the esophagus, stomach and associated organ in order to digest that food and absorb it nutrients. Fungi, on the other hand, secrete enzymes that break down insoluble organic compounds into their basic parts. These basic nutrients are then absorbed through the cell walls. In essence, fungi digest their food before consuming it, while animals consume before digesting.

Reproduction

Animals and fungi both have complex reproductive habits and there are examples in both the kingdom fungi and animalia of asexual and sexual reproductive habits. Animals mostly reproduce sexually, though, with male sperm fertilizing female eggs in order to create a nonidentical offspring. Some invertebrates in the kingdom do reproduce asexually, though differently from fungi. Fungi reproduce mainly asexually by creating spores, which are cells surrounded by a protective coating. Spores are released into the air and, wherever they land, they will start to grow new fungal cells.

Motility

A major difference between members of the kingdom animalia and fungi involves motility, or the ability to move spontaneously and actively while expending energy. Most animals are capable of free movement. The amount of movement they are capable of depends on the development of their skeletal systems. There are exceptions to each kingdom, though few. For example, chytrids, members of the fungi kingdom, do have a mobile stage, though it doesn’t last their whole lives.

Vascular System

A major difference between members of the two kingdoms is that those of kingdom fungi are nonvascular while those of kingdom animalia are vascular. This means that animals have a series of transport systems, mainly in the form of blood vessels that are part of the circulatory system. Some animals, like certain starfish, have water vascular systems. These systems help transport nutrients throughout the body. Fungi don’t need them because they absorb nutrients directly through all parts of their cellular bodies.