How Animals Reproduce

What is Reproduction?

Reproduction is the process of producing individuals of the same kind. Most organisms reproduce by mating, which increases the genetic variability of the organism. The males and females have separate reproductive organs known as gonads. These gonads produce gametes that fuse together to form a single cell called the zygote.

Few animals such as earthworms, snails, slugs, etc. are hermaphrodites and possess male and female reproductive organs in the same organism.

Also Read: Reproduction

Table of Contents

Modes of Reproduction

Depending on the number of parents involved, there are different modes of reproduction. In animals is two types of reproduction:

  1. Sexual Reproduction.
  2. Asexual Reproduction.

Also Read: Modes of Reproduction

Let us go through the following reproduction notes to explore sexual and asexual reproduction in animals.

Sexual Reproduction in Animals

The process in which the male and female gametes fuse together to form a new individual is called sexual reproduction. Let us have a brief account of the human reproductive organs and their role in reproduction.

Also Read: Sexual Reproduction

Reproductive Organs

The male reproductive organs comprise a pair of testes, sperm ducts, and a penis. The sperms are produced by the testes. The sperms are very small in size with a head, a middle piece, and a tail.

The female reproductive organs comprise a pair of ovaries, oviducts, and the uterus. The eggs (ova) are produced by the ovaries. The development of the baby takes place in the uterus. A mature egg is released into the oviduct every month.

Process of Sexual Reproduction in Animals

Fertilization

The semen contains millions of sperm. A single sperm fuses with the ova during fertilization. The nuclei of the egg and the sperm fuse together to form a single nucleus. Thus, a zygote is formed.

Fertilization is of two types:

  • Internal Fertilization

The fertilization that takes place inside the body of the female is known as internal fertilization. For eg., humans, cows, dogs, etc. This method is more prevalent in terrestrial animals. However, some aquatic animals also adopt this method. This may take place by direct introduction of sperms by the male in the female reproductive tract, or the male deposits the sperms in the environment which is picked up by the female in her reproductive tract.

There are three ways by which offspring are produced by internal fertilization:

  1. Oviparity– The fertilized eggs are laid outside, where they receive nourishment from the yolk.

  2. Ovoviviparity– The fertilized eggs are retained in the female’s body where they receive nourishment from the yolk. The eggs are laid right before they are hatched.

  3. Viviparity– The offspring are born directly instead of hatching from the eggs. They receive nutrition from the mother. This can be seen in mammals.

  • External Fertilization

The fertilization that takes place outside the female is called external fertilization. For eg., frogs, and fish. Most fertilization takes place during the process of spawning. Environmental signals such as water temperature trigger spawning.

Embryo Development

The zygote divides repeatedly to form a ball of cells. This is known as the developing embryo. These cells differentiate into respective tissues and organs. The embryo gets implanted in the uterine wall. This process is known as implantation.

When all the body parts of the embryo start being visible, it is called a foetus. The child is developed after nine months in humans.

Viviparous and Oviparous Animals

Oviparous and viviparous animals are two different groups of animals, which are classified on the basis of fertilization. The main difference between oviparous and viviparous animals are listed below:

Oviparous Viviparous
Meaning
Egg-laying animals Animals that give birth to the young ones
Fertilization
Either internal or external Fertilization is internal
Nutrients to the developing embryo
Provided by the egg yolk Provided by the mother through the placenta
Development of zygote
There is very little or no development of the embryo inside the mother. The embryo develops entirely inside the mother.
Survival chances
There are fewer chances of survival since the eggs are laid outside the body The young one is protected inside the mother and so the chances of survival are more.
Examples
Insects, hens, fish, amphibians, etc. Humans, dogs, cats, horses, etc.

Asexual Reproduction in Animals

Besides sexual reproduction, the other major type of reproduction seen in the animal kingdom is asexual reproduction. This type of reproduction is mostly observed in lower organisms and unicellular microbes.

It is the process in which a new individual is formed by the involvement of a single parent without the involvement of the gamete formation. The individuals produced are genetically and morphologically similar. The cells divide by mitotic division and no fertilization takes place. The division occurs very rapidly.

Types Of Asexual Reproduction

Asexual Reproduction is of the following types:

Binary Fission

It is seen in amoeba and euglena. The parent cell undergoes mitosis and increases in size. The nucleus also divides. Two identical daughter cells are obtained, each containing a nucleus. Prokaryotes like bacteria majorly reproduce by binary fission.

Budding

In this, the offspring grows out of the body of the parent. It remains attached to the parent until it matures. After maturation, it detaches itself from the parent and lives as an individual organism. This form of reproduction is most common in Hydras.

Fragmentation

In some organisms like Planarians, when the body of an organism breaks into several pieces each piece grows into an individual offspring. This is known as fragmentation. It can occur through accidental damage by predators or otherwise, or as a natural form of reproduction. In a few animals such as sea stars, a broken arm grows into a complete organism.

Regeneration

It is a modified form of fragmentation and occurs mostly in Echinoderms. When a part of an organism, like an arm, detaches from the parent body, it grows into a completely new individual. This is known as regeneration.

Parthenogenesis

This is a form of asexual reproduction where the egg develops without fertilization. This process occurs in bees, wasps, ants, aphids, rotifers, etc. Ants, wasps, and bees produce haploid males. Parthenogenesis has been observed in a few vertebrates such as hammerhead sharks, Komodo dragons, and blacktop sharks when the females were isolated from the males.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What are the advantages of sexual reproduction over asexual reproduction?

Advantages of sexual reproduction are:

a) Variations: Due to recombination and crossing over, sexual reproduction brings about variations in species. Variations are essential for the individuality and evolution of species.
b) Better adaptability: Increased variability due to sexual reproduction helps in better adaptability of species.
c) Evolution: It helps in the evolution of species.
Harmful traits can be removed by the selection of better-adapted individuals or maybe not be expressed due to the reshuffling of gene pairs.

What is the difference between sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction?

Sexual:
——-
1.) Two parents take part
2.) Variation occurs in offspring
3.) Fertilization takes place
4.) Gametes are involved
5.) Mixing of hereditary material

Asexual:
———
1.) Single parent
2.) Offspring are genetically identical to each other and to their parent
3.) No Internal fertilization or External fertilization
4.) No gametes
5.) No mixing of hereditary material

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5 Comments

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