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Viviparous and Oviparous Animals

Similar to fertilization, development of an embryo may take place outside or inside the body of the parent. Accordingly, they are classified into oviparous and viviparous animals.

Viviparous animals are those in which the embryo develops entirely within the mother and not from an egg. Viviparous offspring live independently and require an external food supply from birth. This is the reproductive mode for nearly all mammals, many reptiles, and a few fishes.

Oviparous animals are egg laying animals. It means there will be little or no development of embryo within the mother. This is the reproductive way of many animals, including birds, amphibians, most insects, many reptiles and fish.

One of the advantages to giving birth to live young is that the mother protects the fetus inside her body as it develops. The developing fetus derives nutrients from the mother's body, and so is assured of receiving all the nourishment it needs to complete development.


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