Oviparous Vs Viviparous: Definition, 11 Differences, & Examples

Oviparous Vs. Viviparous Overview

Oviparous Definition

An oviparous animal is one that lays eggs that are later pushed outside of the female’s body to hatch and give birth to the young.

  • These creatures are oviparous, meaning that regardless of whether the eggs are fertilized externally or internally, the young always hatch from the mother.
  • The majority of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and even birds are oviparous. Some invertebrates, such as insects, are oviparous as well.
  • Ovoviviparous animals are another species in which the eggs hatch inside the animal’s body, and the offspring emerge. Some snakes, sharks, and other animals frequently exhibit this.
  • Numerous species have used oviparity as an evolutionary tactic; some create numerous, weak, and little eggs, while others only produce a small number of robust, enormous eggs.
  • Thus, producing plenty of eggs improves their odds of surviving, which makes it a useful strategy for maintaining reproductive fitness.
  • Some species, such as frogs, may use external fertilization, in which the female lays the eggs first, and the male then visits to disperse his sperm.
Oviparous Vs Viviparous
Image Credit: Byjus
  • After fertilization, the egg grows until a tadpole emerges from it.
  • In contrast, the male inseminates the female in other animals, such as hens, causing internal fertilization. The fertilized egg is subsequently laid, and the female tends to it until it develops into a chick.
  • Depending on the species, the eggs of oviparous animals have either hard or soft shells. Another feature of the animal is the size of its eggs.
  • After laying the eggs, some animals lie on them to keep them warm, while others bury them in the sand.
  • The temperature of the egg is crucial for the development of the embryo in reptiles because it affects the sex of the progeny.
  • Oviparous animals, which feed nutrition to the egg through the yolk sac, often lay eggs at a specific period of the year, depending on the availability of food.
  • Eggs laid by chickens may or may not get fertilized. On the other hand, the unfertilized egg is consumed by humans as a source of nutrition rather than hatched to produce a young one.
  • Frogs, snakes, lizards, hens, ducks, fish, sharks, penguins, butterflies, octopuses, and other creatures are examples of oviparous animals.

Viviparous Definition

An animal that develops an embryo inside a female’s body and gives live birth to a youngster is said to be viviparous.

  • The mother gives the embryo the essential nutrients as it grows in particular organs within the female body.
  • Except for birds, all vertebrate groups contain viviparous animals. Although none of the groups—fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals—is completely viviparous, all have viviparous individuals.
  • It is believed that oviparity, in which the egg remains inside the female for a prolonged period of time before hatching, gave rise to viviparity.
  • Because some primitive animals have a yolk sac that provides nourishment to the embryo, various viviparous creatures have distinct nutritional needs. Others, on the other hand, see the embryo develop into a larva within the mother that feeds on the mother’s reproductive fluids.
Oviparous Vs Viviparous 2
Image Credit: The Biology Notes
  • However, in mammals, the mother feeds the baby by secreting nutrients through the mammary glands.
  • Internal fertilization is the method used by viviparous animals to reproduce sexually while the embryo grows inside the mother.
  • Viviparous animals are also more sophisticated because they can transport their growing young away from dangerous locations with their mother.
  • Similar to this, viviparous animals may also give birth at any time of the year since they can feed the developing fetus with body fat stores.
  • However, because viviparity may seriously harm the reproductive organs after delivery, it may be exceedingly taxing for the mother.
  • Varied viviparous creatures exhibit different levels of parental care after birth; whereas certain mammals, including humans, take care of their young, some salamanders exhibit no parental care at all.
  • Complications during labor might occasionally endanger the mother’s life.
  • Humans, bears, giraffes, cattle, certain sharks, salamanders, some frogs, and others are examples of viviparous creatures.

Key Differences (Oviparous Vs. Viviparous)

Basis for Comparison Oviparous Viviparous
Definition An oviparous animal is an animal that produces eggs that later hatch to produce young ones after being propelled out of the body of the female. A viviparous animal is an animal that develops an embryo inside the body of the female, resulting in the live birth of a young one.
Mode of reproduction Oviparous animals lay eggs that later hatch to form young ones. Viviparous animals give direct birth to young ones.
Fertilization Oviparous animals might undergo internal or external fertilization. Viviparous animals reproduce exclusively by internal fertilization.
Development of zygote The development of a zygote occurs outside the body of the mother. The development of a zygote occurs within the body of the mother.
Nutrients The embryo receives nutrients via the egg yolk. The embryo receives nutrients from the mother through the placenta or similar structures.
Chance of survival The chance of survival of the young ones is comparatively less as the eggs are laid in an environment where they are prone to various dangers. The chance of survival of the young ones is comparatively more as they are protected inside the body of the mother with a sufficient supply of nutrients.
Hard covering The eggs produced by oviparous animals are covered with hard shells to provide protection to the developing embryo. The embryo is inside the body of the mother and is not covered with any hard covering.
Danger to the mother Because there is no direct childbirth, the mother is not at risk. The mother might be at risk during childbearing or childbirth.
Reproduction Reproduction in oviparous animals usually occurs at a time when there is sufficient food available for the embryo. Viviparous might reproduce at any time of the year as they provide nutrients through the reserve fat.
Parental care Oviparous animals look after their eggs after laying them. Some viviparous animals show parental care after birth, while others don’t.
Examples Examples of oviparous animals include frogs, snakes, lizards, hens, ducks, fishes, sharks, penguins, butterflies, octopuses, etc. Examples of viviparous animals include humans, bears, giraffes, cattle, some sharks, salamanders, some frogs, etc.

Examples of Oviparous Animals


  • Due to the fact that all bird species reproduce by laying eggs, birds are the only oviparous creatures.
  • One of the most well-known oviparous animals—those that lay hard-shelled eggs with an embryo sac—is the chicken.
  • Most birds have internal fertilization, which results in fertilized eggs that subsequently grow into the young bird. Some birds, nevertheless, may also produce unfertilized eggs.
  • When a bird lays an egg, it takes care of it until it hatches. Some birds, like hens and ducks, may even sit on the egg to keep it warm.
  • Many baby birds are precocial, which means they can walk and feed themselves as soon as they hatch.
  • Some birds, however, provide food and shelter for their young after they hatch and care for them for a while.

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  • In the way they raise their young, reptiles are comparable to birds.
  • Reptilian eggs, however, feel soft to the touch and are frequently leathery. Typically, the shell is both thin and colorful.
  • Depending on the species, fertilization may take place inside or externally.
  • To keep the eggs warm, they typically bury them in the sand once they are laid on land.
  • In the case of reptiles, the temperature during the embryo’s development is crucial since it affects the young’s sex.
  • As a result, the majority of reptiles attempt to maintain the eggs’ temperature for an extended length of time.
  • In reptiles, the species can also affect the egg’s size, texture, and color.
  • Most reptiles provide their young with parental care after hatching, teaching them how to find food and defend themselves.

Examples of Viviparous


  • Like all other mammals, humans are viviparous (only procreate internally).
  • The zygote goes toward the uterus and plants itself once fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube.
  • The placenta, which feeds the developing fetus’ nutrition, connects the uterine wall to the mother.
  • The baby, in the case of humans, is fully grown before delivery, unlike certain viviparous species.
  • Following delivery, the mother gives nutrition by secreting substances through the mammary glands.
  • Similarly, high levels of parental care are seen following delivery when they take care of the infant for years.

Higher Sharks

  • In contrast to other fish, the group of species known as higher sharks are viviparous.
  • Diverse sharks use a variety of reproductive strategies, some of which are similar to those used by mammals.
  • Some sharks, including the Great White Shark, have tissue that extends from the female’s oviducts and connects to the growing shark’s gills. This structure functions similarly to a mammalian placenta.
  • Some tissues may even release a milky material that permits the growing embryo to exchange nutrients and oxygen.
  • The baby shark emerges from the cloaca once it has developed sufficiently inside the mother. Sharks don’t provide much parental care after giving birth because the young animals can already hunt for prey.


  • Viviparous Animals, Oviparous Animals & Ovoviviparous Animals
  • Differences Between Oviparous and Viviparous Animals
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