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Difference between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

Fertilization is the phenomena, part of life process – reproduction where male and female gametes unite forming a structure known as zygote which eventually develops into the foetus. The animal kingdom has species undergoing the process of fertilization in two ways – one where fertilization takes place externally, where the sperm-egg fusion occurs outside the female body known as external fertilization and the other is where the sperm-egg fusion occurs inside the female body, this is known as internal fertilization. On this basis, animals are categorized into oviparous and viviparous animals.

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Oviparous animals

  • These entities are egg-laying
  • Internal fertilization observed, but the development of the embryo is through external means
  • Hard shells of eggs render protection, once foetus matures, egg hatches
  • This feature of egg-laying animals is referred to as oviparity
  • Example – Birds, frogs, all fishes. Except for some snake species all other reptiles are oviparous, platypus and Echidna are egg-laying mammals.

Viviparous animals

  • Animals giving birth to offspring are known as viviparous animals
  • Development of the embryo and fertilization both occurs inside the female body
  • Matrotrophy is observed
  • Example – Dogs, cat, humans etc

Difference between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

The table below depicts a few notable differences between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

Oviparous Animals Viviparous Animals
What it means
Lay unfertilized or fertilized eggs Give birth to young ones while their development takes place within the body of the female counterpart
Can either be external or internal Internal
Zygote development
Embryo development occurs outside the body Embryo development occurs inside the body
Supply of nutrients to the embryo that is developing
Embryo obtains nutrients from

Egg yolk

Embryo obtains nutrients from the mother
Chances of survival
Less. This is because egg laying occurs in an external environment High as nourishment and care is provided inside the womb of the mother
Some examples
Fish, amphibians, insects, birds, reptiles Humans, dogs, elephants, cats etc

Categorization of species helps in understanding and learning features of entities belonging to that class on the whole. This way many deductions are carried out. Apart from these animals, there are animals referred to as ovoviviparous animals who produce eggs which develop inside the body of the mother.

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