Symmetry (biology)

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A selection of animals showing the range of possible symmetries, including both radial and bilateral body plans.

Symmetry in biology is about the overall shape of the body and its parts. The body plans of most multicellular organisms have some form of symmetry, radial symmetry, bilateral symmetry or spherical symmetry. A few have no symmetry, and are asymmetric.

In nature and biology, symmetry is approximate. For example, plant leaves, which are more or less symmetrical, will rarely match up exactly when folded in half.

Types of symmetry[change | edit source]

There are three basic forms:

  • Radial symmetry: The organism look like a pie. This pie can be cut up into roughly identical pieces.
  • Bilateral symmetry: There is an axis; on both sides of the axis the organism looks roughly the same
  • Spherical symmetry: If the organism is cut through its center, the resulting parts look the same.

In nature and biology, symmetry is approximate. For example, plant leaves, while considered symmetric, will rarely match up exactly when folded in half.

Asymmetry[change | edit source]

When symmetry is not complete or not present at all.

Gallery[change | edit source]

Other websites[change | edit source]