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Differences Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

Last updated date: 04th Dec 2023
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Major Differences Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals: A Brief Overview

During reproduction, the Sperm and Egg fuse together to create the Zygote. This process is known as Fertilisation. It is of two types – External and Internal Fertilisation. External Fertilisation mainly takes place in an Aquatic Environment.


Here, male and female members release their Egg and Sperm in the same area at the same time, and the External Environment fuels the Fertilisation process. In case of Internal Fertilisation, seen usually in Terrestrial Animals, Sperms are released within the female body where it fuses with the Egg. Based on Internal Fertilisation, Organisms can be categorised into Oviparous and Viviparous.


In the sections below, we will discuss Viviparous and Oviparous Animals along with differences.


Oviparous Animals

Terrestrial Organisms who lay Eggs are called Oviparous Animals. The Fertilisation process may take place Internally or Externally; however, Embryonic development takes place in Egg outside of the female’s body. 

Some Features of Oviparous Animals are Given below

  1. The Eggshell acts as a protection for developing Embryo from External world. Moreover, it acts as an incubator by regulating the inside temperature.

  2. Usually, the fully developed Embryo shares similar features with its parents. However, in some Organisms, the characteristics of a fetus are different from that of adults. Consider the life cycle of a frog as an example. After hatching out of the Egg, it is a tadpole. As it grows, it starts resembling an adult frog.

  3. The chances of survival are meagre as an Embryo is protected only by the Eggshell and therefore very much exposed to predators and other External factors. Consequently, Oviparous Organisms lay many small Eggs at a time to ensure successful survival.

  4. Some Oviparous Organisms, however, lay large Eggs in small numbers which have a hard-outer covering. It prOvides more protection to a developing Embryo and ensures its survival until birth.

  5. Examples of Oviparous Organisms include birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians etc.


Viviparous Animals 

The word Viviparous has originated from Latin 'Vivius' which means alive and 'parere' to bring forth. It refers to Animals who give birth to alive young ones instead of Eggs. Internal Fertilisation takes place in both Oviparous and Viviparous Animals. However, in Viviparous Animals, Embryo development takes place within the female member of that species.


The Characteristics of Viviparous Animals are Given below: 

  1. The Embryo development within female takes weeks to months. For instance, in humans, the Embryo takes around nine months to completely develop.

  2. The female carries the Embryo within her while it's still developing, which is why mammals have specially designed reproductive organs that have the ability to carry and support the development of the Embryo within themselves. For instance, the fetus draws nutrition from its mother through a specially developed tissue called the plasma.

  3. The offspring do not have the ability to feed itself after it is born. So, during the initial period, it drinks its mother's milk which contains essential nutrients. Accordingly, mammals have mammary glands that produce milk.

  4. Unlike Oviparous Animals, Viviparous Animals do not produce a lot of young ones at the same time. It is because the chances of survival are high as Embryo is fully protected inside the mother's womb.


Examples of some Terrestrial Viviparous Animals include humans, dogs, cats, tigers, lions, chimpanzees and so on. Some aquatic Organisms are also Viviparous; these include different species of sharks, dolphins, whales, sea otters and so on. 


The table below shows the main difference between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals. A quick glance through this table before examinations will help you revise the crucial points and definitions. 


Difference Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

Oviparous Animal

Viviparous Animal

Oviparous Organisms are those that lay Eggs which can be either Fertilised or unFertilised.

Those Animals that directly give birth to alive young ones are referred to as Viviparous Animals.

The development of Embryo takes place Externally.

The Embryo develops inside the mother's uterus.

The Egg yolk provides nutrition to Embryo.

The Embryo absorbs nutrients from the mother's body during its foetal stage.

Eggs are exposed to several risks and damages which reduces survival rate for Oviparous Organisms.

The chances of survival are high in Viviparous Animals as Embryo stays fully protected inside the mother's womb.

Examples of Oviparous Organisms are birds, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians.

Mammals are Viviparous Animals. It includes human beings, cats, dogs, lions, tigers and so on.

What is the Purpose of Viviparity?

This particular process of Fertilization takes some kind of placental exchange between the female and the Fetus into account. The advantage of this particular process of Fertilization suggests that the offspring will have the ability to combat and survive the difficult atmosphere and situations because the Eggs produced in the female body are limited and hence they are well developed. This process refers to an Internal Egg development process. It is particularly helpful for the species who are from cooler climatic areas and where the females are more susceptible to climatic changes and other natural challenges.

How are Oviparous Animals Comparable with the Viviparous Animals?

The Eggs of the Oviparous Animals do not undergo the process of Embryonic development. The Eggs of the various Animals undergo the process of full nutritional development inside the body of the female. There are also some similarities between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals. The process of Fertilization takes place inside the body of the female in the case of both these Animals.

Can Fish be Considered as Oviparous Animals?

Most species of the fishes whom we can perceive around us are true Oviparous Animals. The Eggs are Fertilized inside the body of the female but the offspring do not undergo the full process of development inside the body of the mother. But the whales are also a species of fish and they are Viviparous Animals as they give birth to fully developed offspring outside their body.

This article will provide you with all the necessary information that you need to know to understand the concept of Viviparous and Oviparous Animals and how the processes of Fertilization take place inside their bodies. Having knowledge of these two processes of Fertilization will help the students to understand the different types of Fertilization processes occurring inside the bodies of different species.

FAQs on Differences Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

1. What is the basic difference between Ovuliparity and Oviparity?

Ovuliparity refers to the system where the Fertilization takes place Externally. In this case, the female Eggs are released into the Environment that contains unFertilized oocytes and the Sperm Fertilizes the Eggs outside the body of the female. In the case of ovuliparity, The yolks present in the Egg play an important role in the growth and support of the species that is not yet born.

Oviparity refers to the system where the Fertilization takes place inside the body of the female and it is an Internal process. To Fertilize the Eggs of the female, the male species need to insert the Sperm in a manner so that the female reproductive organs can actively or passively collect it.

The most important difference between these two systems of Fertilization is that in the case of ovuliparity, the Eggs remain inside the body of the female, but in the case of Oviparity, the Eggs do not remain inside the body of the female during the period of the development. Also, the Eggs of the Oviparous Animals, the Eggs can be found with almost no Embryonic development while they are inside the body of the female. The Oviparous Animals also hatch the newly born Animals outside their body.

2. What is the purpose of learning the concepts regarding Oviparity and Viviparity?

The concepts are important for the students who want to pursue their higher academics in Biology and especially in the field of Zoology. Learning these concepts will provide them with a fair idea of how the processes of Fertilization take place inside and outside the bodies of different species. These are the basic concepts of Biology that can be handy for those students who want to pursue their careers in the field of microBiology as well.

Questions from these topics may appear in the entrance examinations like JEE Main, Advanced or NEET. Having the concept about these topics will help them to answer most of the questions regarding this particular subject matter. The students who want to become medical practitioners or want to undertake research projects need to understand these basic concepts. The formation of the new species through different processes can also help the students to understand other complicated concepts.

Since the topics may seem to be completely new to the students, they need to have access to organised study materials so that they can learn the concepts and understand the logic and science behind the Fertilization processes in detail. 

There are various study materials available on the website of Vedantu from where they can download the PDF versions of the study and course materials and can print them for future reference as well. Vedantu conducts live classes, master classes, and one to one classes that will help the students to have a good grip on various topics of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and other different subjects. Join the classes for free and register to unlock all the course materials along with mock papers and mock sessions.