What is Fragmentation?

This type of asexual reproduction is similar to regeneration but there is a clear difference. Unlike regeneration, the parent organism can be divided into many pieces, and each piece will develop into a complete individual.

Fragmentation in spirogyra.
Fragmentation in spirogyra.

A great example of fragmentation can be seen in spirogyra. Spirogyra is a green alga (algae) that floats freely on freshwater ponds. Under a microscope, it can be seen as a rectangular cell with a nucleus in the vacuole located in the center. The rectangular cells are joined together in long strands called a filament. When a filament is divided into many pieces, each piece will grow into individual filaments.

Illustration of spirogyra cell and filament

The example of flatworm in the previous page is also uniquely true for fragmentation. If the flatworm is divided into two, each half will grow to become individual flatworms.

In starfish, a new individual can develop when a parent starfish is cut into two. Some worms and fungi are good examples of such organisms that can reproduce by fragmentation.