Difference Between Locomotion and Movement


Main Difference

The main difference between Locomotion and Movement is that Locomotion is the displacement of the whole body, whereas Movement is the displacement of a part of the body.

Locomotion vs. Movement

The process of locomotion helps the organisms to escape away from the predators, to search for food, and to protect them from harsh conditions of weather. The process of movement helps the organisms to perform different functions e.g., pumping of blood to the whole body, digestion, and breathing, etc. Plants show movement only. Locomotion in animals refers to the change of place like walking, etc.; on the other side, movement in animals, refers to any type of motion like breathing, clapping, etc.


Some types of locomotion are aerial, which deals with the flying and aquatic, which belongs to the swimming. The main type of movement is the movement of the body muscles. In the case of the free-floating body, locomotion requires essential energy. However, in the case of movement, it doesn’t require essential energy. In the case of plants, they do not show locomotion. But in the case of plants, they show specific movements that take place inside them.

It is also said that locomotion is the change in the position of an organism concerning its surroundings, for instance, traveling on a train from one place to another. Change in position of a specific part of your body concerning the whole body is known as the movement, for example, up and down movement of your hands concerning the body. Locomotion is the most visible way of the expenditure of energy that is stored by the organism in the body. Movement is a less visible way of expenditure of an organism’s stored energy.


Comparison Chart

Moving from one place to another place is locomotionDisplacement from the original position is movement
It requires energyIt doesn’t require energy
Shows Reaction
Always voluntaryEither voluntary or non-voluntary
Takes Place
Organism levelBiological level
Areal, aquatic, cursorial, fossorial, arboreal, etcAmoeboid, ciliary and muscular movement

What is Locomotion?

If an organism move to change its position from one place to another place, it is known as locomotion. In the process of locomotion, appendages like flagella, wings, limbs, etc. are involved. In the case of animals such as whales, sharks, and other fishes, locomotion takes place with the help of wave-like muscle contractions. By locomotion, organisms become able to search for food and protect themselves from harsh conditions and harsh weather. It also helps the organisms to escape from predators. Swimming, walking running, etc. are some examples of locomotion.

Word the locomotion refers to displace the whole body of an organism. In humans, locomotion means to walk or run from one place to another place. Humans also use different means of transportation like cars, trains, aircraft, etc. for locating from one to another place. In the case of birds, locomotion means to fly by using wings. In the case of fishes, locomotion takes place by means swimming with the help of tail, fins, etc. Such organisms that have not special organs to move accomplish locomotion utilizing water wind etc.

Locomotion in humans and other animals is not easy to understand because rather than running, jumping, walking, gliding, flying, etc. are not the only mean of transportation. Humans use technological and advanced ways of locomotion. The biological means of locomotion of microorganisms such as hydra are very interesting. Amoeba shows locomotion with the help of making pseudopodia, Chlamydomonas move with the help of flagella and paramecium locate by using cilia.

What is Movement?

The state of changing the position from resting state to motions is known as a movement. This process of movement helps the organisms to perform different vital functions. Movement is also said to be any type of motion. It can be a voluntary or involuntary reaction; for instance, waling is a voluntary movement; on the other hand, breathing is a type of involuntary movement. Movement isn’t level-specific; it can take place on all levels.

Based on movement, locomotion is also an example of movement. All organisms show movement on all different levels e.g., tissue, organ, cellular, etc. of the whole organism. While walking, muscles of animals are designed for walking, and muscles become a contact and relax according to the movement. Muscles or sets of muscles are required to accomplish the movement by contraction and relaxation. All the voluntary movements are in control of the organism. Speaking, walking, writing, etc. all are the type of voluntary movements.

However, involuntary movements are not in control of the organism. For instance, the beating of our heart, movement of our stomach, whiles digestion of food, and another movement of our digestive system during food digestion all are examples of involuntary movement. In the oral cavity, the process of chewing and swallowing are examples of voluntary movement. In addition to this, it is interesting to know that the breathing process is an involuntary movement, but it can also be controlled if willing. In addition to voluntary and involuntary movement, it is also noticed that in the biological processes, there are also a great number of cellular movements.

Key Differences

  1. Locomotion displaces the entire organism, whereas movement displaces only a specific part of the body.
  2. Locomotion helps the organism to hide from predators and to search for food; on the other hand, movement helps the organism to perform different functions.
  3. Usually, animals show locomotion; conversely, plants show movement instead of locomotion.
  4. In locomotion position, get changed; on the flip side, in movement position doesn’t get changed.
  5. Locomotion is necessary to displace, while movement is necessary for action.
  6. Locomotion is the most visible activity, although the movement is less visible activity.
  7. The process of locomotion occurs on a high organizational level like organism level as compared to the process of movement, which occurs on the tissue level.
  8. More energy is required in locomotion compared to the movement, which requires less and sometimes no energy.
  9. Locomotion is classified as involuntary actions. However, in the case of organisms, the movement could be classified as a voluntary or involuntary reaction.
  10. Locomotion is not restricted to a point on the other side movement is restricted to a point.


It is concluded that locomotion refers to change in the place, and movement refers to just an action or motion.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White