Difference between Ectotherm and Endotherm

Main Difference

The animals that come under the head of the Ectotherms are generally known as the cold blooded animals. As the name speaks itself, these sorts of animals have to absorb the heat from their environment in order to maintain their body temperature. This is the major reason that the Ectotherms animals will be affected more from the weather change because they show specific behavior depended to the condition of the weather. The animals that come under the Ectotherms system don’t need to eat as much as their endotherm foils because they have no intention to convert the food into heat. The Crocodiles and alligators are the major examples of Ectotherms animals. They are capable of remaining alive for few weeks or even months without eating anything. But in order to accomplish this target, the Ectotherms animals have to hang about immobile during most of the day for the prime goal of saving their inner energy for bringing about their basic tasks including the process of eating, mating and defending the territory in which they and their families live. In contrast, the animals those come under the head of Endotherms. They can produce far more energy as compared to the Ectotherms. The eating habits of the Endotherms must be established on regular basis for their survival. The Mammal is the best example of the Endotherms animal group that is able to produce more heat and thus can live more active life than reptiles. The Endotherms have to eat far more to produce their own heat, stay active and survive but for this intention, they need to eat more while comparing with the Ectotherms animals.


The term of Ectotherm is basically a resultant from the regulation internal temperature with the help of utilizing the outside temperature levels. The Reptiles come into this category and it is an interesting fact that despite their strong powers, they don’t have ability to control their own internal temperature. As a result the Ectotherms group related animals are bound to rely on the environment for such. At the time when the Ectotherms animals are in a need of warming up their bodies, they have to stretch out under the heat of the sun. On the contrary, when the Ectotherms associated animals feel themselves hot under the collar, then they are bound to go under a cool shadow to maintain their body temperature just according to the requirements. The Ectotherms animals have to exercise this practice because their organs will not functioning properly under the unfavorable temperature conditions. The Ectotherms are those types of organisms that have no ability to maintain a constant body temperature and they are ion a need of surrounding heat all the time to control their body heat. The daily routine wise activities of the ectotherms animals are significantly distressed just due to the temperature of the nearby area.


The Endotherms related animals are able to uphold a fairly steady body temperature under a wide variety of temperatures present in the surrounding area ranging from the severe heat of the deserts to the icy arctic cold. Because of this constant temperature regulation ability, the endotherms have become capable of staying alive in a very broader physical and environmental area present on earth. In the endotherms category, every mammal and bird is included. This ability of the endotherms animals requires a very large energy for the production and maintaining the system of heat and cooling. Digestion of food is the main source of their energy. Their body contains the processes of metabolic to control the body temperature. Furthermore, they have the adaptive mechanisms for controlling the heat exchange rate with the neighboring.

Key Differences

  • Ectotherms can warm their bodies only with the help of riveting the heat from the adjacent situation, whereas there are metabolic activities which produce the heat for Endotherms.
  • The large variations can be found in the body temperature of the Ectotherms animals. Contrary, a fairly constant temperature is maintained in the bodies of the endotherms animals.
  • The animals which come under the category of the ectotherms are mainly consists of the invertebrates, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians. The mammals and birds are the major examples of the endotherms.
  • The body temperature of ectotherms is much more affected with the surrounding temperature changes than that of the endotherms.
  • The Ectotherms can only utilize the behavioral control mechanisms to control their body temperature but the endotherms can employ both the internal physiological control mechanisms and behavioral control for this purpose.
  • The Endotherms animals know how to stay active over a wide range of environmental conditions than that of ectotherms.
  • The geological distribution and ecological distribution of ectotherms are less than endotherms.
  • You will find smaller number of endotherms species as compared to the ectotherms ones.
  • In the equivalent sized of both animals, the endotherms require much more food than the ectotherms to keep up the body temperatures close to a constant value.
  • For the similar body mass, the metabolic rates of ectotherms are far less than the endotherms.

Video explanation


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