AskDefine | Define viviparous

Dictionary Definition

viviparous adj : producing living young (not eggs) [ant: oviparous, ovoviviparous]

User Contributed Dictionary



From etyl la vivus.


  1. In the context of "of an animal or animal species": Being born alive, as are most mammals, some reptiles, and a few fish (as opposed to being laid as an egg and subsequently hatching, as do most birds and many other species).
  2. In the context of "of a plant or plant species": Arising from an embryo that develops from the outset (rather than from a true seed that then germinates).


of an animal
of a plant


Extensive Definition

A viviparous animal is an animal employing vivipary: the embryo develops inside the body of the mother, as opposed to outside in an egg (ovipary). The mother then gives live birth. The less developed form of vivipary is called ovoviviparity, which, for instance, occurs in most vipers. The more developed form of vivipary is called placental viviparity; mammals are the best example, but it has also evolved independently in other animals, such as in scorpions, some sharks, some snakes, and in velvet worms. Viviparous offspring live independently and require an external food supply from birth. Certain lizards also employ this method such as the genera Tiliqua and Corucia. The placenta is attached directly to the mother in these lizards which is called viviparous matrotrophy. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to being viviparous.
viviparous in Catalan: Vivípar
viviparous in German: Viviparie
viviparous in Spanish: Viviparidad
viviparous in French: Viviparité
viviparous in Irish: Beobhreitheach
viviparous in Croatian: Viviparnost
viviparous in Italian: Viviparità
viviparous in Dutch: Viviparie
viviparous in Japanese: 胎生
viviparous in Polish: Żyworodność
viviparous in Portuguese: Viviparidade
viviparous in Russian: Живорождение
viviparous in Turkish: Vivipar
viviparous in Ukrainian: Живородний
viviparous in Chinese: 胎生
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