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Difference Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

Last updated date: 27th May 2024
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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.

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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. 


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.

Difference Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

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. 


Oviparous Animals

Viviparous Animals

Embryo Protection

Protected by Eggshell

Fully protected inside the mother's womb


Eggshell acts as an incubator, regulating temperature

Develops within the mother over weeks to months

Embryo Development

External development of the Embryo

Internal development of the Embryo

Survival Strategy

Lay many small eggs at a time for increased chances of survival

Fewer offspring produced, but higher chances of survival

Nutrition Source for Embryo

Egg yolk provides nutrition

Embryo absorbs nutrients from the mother's body during the fetal stage

Risk and Damage Exposure

Eggs exposed to risks and damages, reducing survival rate

High chances of survival as the embryo is fully protected

Offspring Nutrition

No direct feeding ability after birth, survival dependent on egg yolk and external factors

Initial feeding from mother's milk, which contains essential nutrients

Birth Process

Eggs hatch, giving birth to young ones

Direct birth of live young ones

Characteristics of Embryo

Fully developed Embryo shares features with parents

Development period takes weeks to months; Embryo fully protected inside mother's womb

Chances of Survival

Meagre due to exposure to predators and external factors

High due to full protection inside the mother's womb

Reproductive Organs

Varied, lay eggs externally

Specially designed reproductive organs to support internal development

Mammary Glands

Not present

Present, producing milk for offspring

Examples of Animals

Birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects

Humans, dogs, cats, tigers, lions, chimpanzees (terrestrial), sharks, dolphins, whales, sea otters (aquatic)


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.

Ovoviviparous animals, such as some sharks and rattlesnakes, lay eggs that hatch internally, with the young developing within the mother's body until they are ready to be born. This strategy combines elements of both oviparity and viviparity, offering unique advantages in certain situations.

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.


Learning about the distinctions between animals that lay eggs (oviparous) and those that give birth to live young (viviparous) is not just a scientific exploration. It's like looking through a window to see how diverse and adaptable life on Earth can be. Whether it's frogs laying lots of eggs or mammals taking care of their babies during pregnancy, each approach has its own pros and cons. When we understand these variations, we develop a greater admiration for the incredible variety of life around us.

FAQs on Difference Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals

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

There seems to be a typo in the question. Ovuliparity is not a commonly used term in biology. It might be a misspelling of "oviparity" or "ovoviviparity".

  1. Oviparity: This refers to the mode of reproduction where animals lay eggs that develop outside the mother's body. The embryo receives nourishment from the egg yolk and is exposed to the external environment until hatching. Examples of oviparous animals include birds, reptiles, amphibians, and most fish.

  1. Ovoviviparity: This is a type of reproduction where animals lay eggs, but the eggs develop inside the mother's body until they hatch. However, unlike true viviparity, the embryos in ovoviviparity don't receive nourishment from the mother through a placenta. Instead, they rely on the yolk sac or other internal nutrients from the egg. Examples of ovoviviparous animals include some sharks, rays, and some snake species.

  1. Viviparity: This refers to the mode of reproduction where animals give birth to live young. The embryo develops inside the mother's body and receives nourishment through a placenta. Examples of viviparous animals include mammals (except for monotremes) and some marsupials.

Therefore, the main difference between oviparity and ovoviviparity is the location of embryo development. In oviparity, it happens outside the mother, while in ovoviviparity, it occurs inside the mother's body.

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

Understanding these reproductive strategies helps us in several ways:

  1. Understanding animal diversity: Different animal groups have evolved different reproductive strategies based on their ecological niche and environmental pressures. Knowing about oviparity and viviparity helps us appreciate this diversity and understand how different animals adapt to their environments.

  1. Conservation efforts: Understanding the reproductive needs of different species is crucial for developing effective conservation strategies. For example, knowing that some sea turtle species lay eggs on specific beaches helps us protect these nesting grounds.

  1. Evolutionary biology: Studying oviparity and viviparity can shed light on how these reproductive strategies have evolved over time. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy can help us better understand how animals have adapted to their environments.

  1. Comparative biology: Comparing and contrasting different reproductive strategies can reveal interesting insights into the biology of different organisms. For example, studying the development of embryos in oviparous and viviparous animals can help us understand how these animals have evolved different mechanisms for protecting and nurturing their offspring.

3. Which method of reproduction is more successful; Viviparous or Oviparous?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both strategies. Viviparous animals generally have fewer offspring, but their young have a higher chance of survival because they are protected and nourished within the mother's body. Oviparous animals can lay many eggs, increasing their chance of having some offspring survive, but their young develop on their own and face dangers in the environment.

4. How does the environment affect the type of reproduction used by animals?

The environment can play a role in the type of reproduction used by animals. For example, in colder environments, viviparous animals may have an advantage because their young are born warm and protected. In environments with unpredictable food sources, oviparous animals may have an advantage because they can lay many eggs and hope that some will survive.

5. Are there any exceptions in the oviparous category?

There are a few exceptions. Some fish, like sharks and rays, are ovoviviparous. They lay eggs, but the eggs hatch inside the mother's body, and the young are nourished by yolk and sometimes uterine fluid.