We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Ovoviviparity?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Ovoviviparity is a method of animal development in which the young grow in eggs inside the mother's body, and the mother gives birth to live young. Ovoviviparity is seen in some fish, reptiles, and amphibians around the world. There are a variety of reasons why animals might have evolved to give birth this way, and ovoviviparity is a topic of some interest among researchers as a result. This method of reproduction is also intriguing to many laypeople, since most people assume that egg-layers cannot give birth to live young.

Most people are familiar with vivipary, in which an animal gives birth to live young after it has developed in the uterus for a period which can range from weeks to almost two years, in the case of elephants. Humans, for example, are viviparous animals. Conversely, ovoparity, in which an animal lays eggs and the young hatch out, is the method of reproduction used by many birds, reptiles, amphibians, and others. Ovoviviparity is a blend of both methods, and it is much more rare.

The primary difference between ovoviviparity and vivipary other than the obvious presence of eggs is that ovoviviparous animals do not provide nutrition to their young through a placenta, as is the case in viviparous animals. Instead, the developing young inside the egg feed on the egg yolk, just as their ovoparous cousins do. The mother's body provides protection for the eggs, allowing them to develop without the risk of being eaten or trampled by other animals, and she also provides some gas exchange to the developing egg.

The advantage to ovoparity is that animals can lay large clutches of eggs, ensuring that at least some of their young survive. Ovoviviparous animals can only incubate limited numbers of eggs at a time, typically giving birth to no more than six young. Therefore, the young are more precious to their parents. In contrast with the young of viviparous animals, ovoviviparous young are typically also very well-developed and precocious, able to navigate the world shortly after birth, although they may still require guidance from their parents.

In some ovoviviparous animals, the young are born in larval form, and they metamorphose outside the bodies of their parents. Others are born fully formed, although they may require several weeks or months to mature to the size of their parents. Sharks are among the most notable of animals which exhibit ovoviviparity, although there are numerous other examples in the fish, reptile, and amphibian world, including manta rays, vipers, and some toads.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Apr 19, 2011

Why do different creatures have different methods of bearing young? Is it because they all require varying amounts of development and security before birth?

For example, humans need a lot of nourishment and a safe environment to develop before birth, so we are viviparous. Other things like most insects, birds and reptiles might not need as much nourishment and development, so they are ovoparous. Ovoviviparous is in between the two. It doesn't require as much nourishment as the viviparous, but it needs a secure environment. I think it makes a lot of sense.

By candyquilt — On Apr 17, 2011

Did you guys know that some insects do this too? I'm writing on this for class and I read that cockroaches and some moths and flies reproduce with ovoviviparity.

I guess it's good because they can only have so many young insects at one time, but then again, they have extra protection as they grow in the womb.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.