10 Differences Between oviparous and viviparous

Oviparous vs Viviparous: Understanding the Differences

Are you curious about the different ways in which animals reproduce? In the animal kingdom, there are two primary methods – oviparous and viviparous. These terms refer to the way in which organisms give birth or lay eggs. In this article, we will explore the characteristics, examples, and uses of oviparous and viviparous organisms, and highlight the key differences between the two. So, let’s dive in and learn more about these fascinating reproductive strategies!

What is/are Oviparous?

Oviparous animals are those that reproduce by laying eggs. In this process, the female organism produces eggs, which are then fertilized either internally or externally by the male. These fertilized eggs are then deposited in a safe location, where they develop and eventually hatch to produce offspring. Oviparity is commonly observed in various species across the animal kingdom, including birds, reptiles, and most fish.

Examples of Oviparous:

  • Birds: Chickens, eagles, ducks
  • Reptiles: Turtles, snakes, lizards
  • Fish: Salmon, trout, goldfish

Uses of Oviparous:

The oviparous reproductive strategy offers several advantages to organisms. It allows the parents to lay numerous eggs, thus increasing the chances of reproductive success. Additionally, eggs can be laid in protected locations, reducing the vulnerability of offspring to predation. Oviparity also enables the species to disperse their offspring over larger areas, increasing their chances of survival and avoiding competition for resources.

What is/are Viviparous?

Viviparous animals, on the other hand, give birth to live young, just like humans. In this reproductive strategy, the young develop inside the female’s body, and all necessary nutrients and oxygen are supplied to them through a placenta or similar structure. After a gestation period, the offspring are born as fully-formed individuals. Viviparity is observed in certain mammals, reptiles, and a few fish species.

Examples of Viviparous:

  • Mammals: Humans, elephants, dolphins
  • Reptiles: Some species of lizards, such as the skinks
  • Fish: Certain types of sharks, such as the great white shark

Uses of Viviparous:

The viviparous reproductive strategy offers several benefits to organisms. It allows the parent to directly provide nutrients and protection to the developing offspring. This increased parental care enhances the chances of survival for the offspring. Viviparity also allows for the rapid growth and development of the young, leading to potentially stronger and more independent individuals.

Differences Between Oviparous and Viviparous:

Difference Area Oviparous Viviparous
Method of Reproduction Reproduction occurs through the laying of eggs. Reproduction occurs through the live birth of fully-formed young.
Development Offspring develop and hatch outside the parent’s body. Offspring develop inside the parent’s body.
Feeding Offspring are not dependent on parental care for nutrition. Offspring receive nutrients and oxygen directly from the parent through a placenta or similar structure.
Offspring Independence Offspring are independent immediately after hatching. Offspring require maternal care and are born helpless.
Number of Offspring Higher number of offspring can be produced due to the abundance of eggs. Lower number of offspring is produced due to the limited space within the parent’s body.
Protection and Safety Eggs are often laid in protected locations, reducing the vulnerability of offspring. The parent provides direct protection to the offspring during development.
Species Examples Birds, reptiles, and most fish. Humans, elephants, and certain species of reptiles and fish.
Growth Rate Growth rate may be slower due to the initial vulnerability of eggs. Growth rate is usually faster due to the direct provision of nutrients and protection.
Dispersal Offspring can be dispersed over larger areas, avoiding competition for resources. Offspring remain close to the parent, reducing the need for long-distance dispersal.
Evolution Oviparity is considered an ancestral trait. Viviparity is often considered an advanced trait that has evolved in some species.


In summary, oviparous and viviparous are two distinct reproductive strategies found in various animal species. Oviparity involves the laying of eggs, with offspring developing and hatching externally, offering advantages such as increased reproductive output and dispersal. Viviparity, on the other hand, involves live birth, providing benefits such as increased parental care and accelerated growth. These two strategies have contributed to the diverse and fascinating array of life forms we see today.

People Also Ask:

Q: Are humans oviparous or viviparous?

A: Humans are viviparous, as they give birth to live young.

Q: What is the advantage of viviparity over oviparity?

A: Viviparity allows for increased parental care, direct nutrient supply, and potentially stronger and more independent offspring.

Q: Can an animal be both oviparous and viviparous?

A: No, an animal is either oviparous or viviparous, depending on its species and reproductive strategy.

Q: Are all reptiles oviparous?

A: No, while most reptiles are oviparous, there are a few reptile species that exhibit viviparity.

Q: Can viviparous animals lay eggs?

A: No, viviparous animals do not lay eggs. Instead, they give birth to live young.

Leave a Comment

content of this page is protected

Scroll to Top