Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature What Does Viviparous Mean? Share Flipboard Email Print Gerard Soury/Photodisc/Getty Images Animals & Nature Marine Life Key Terms Marine Life Profiles Marine Habitat Profiles Sharks Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Forestry Dinosaurs Evolution View More By Jennifer Kennedy Marine Science Expert M.S., Resource Administration and Management, University of New Hampshire B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. our editorial process Jennifer Kennedy Updated December 13, 2019 Viviparous organisms are those that give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs. The young develop within the mother's body. Viviparous Etymology The word viviparous stems from the Latin word vivus, meaning alive and parere, meaning to bring forth. The Latin word for viviparous is viviparus, meaning "to bring forth alive." Examples of Viviparous Marine Life Examples of marine life that are viviparous include: Marine mammals such as whales and dolphins, pinnipeds, sirenians, and sea ottersSome sharks, including blue sharks, white sharks hammerhead sharks, and bull sharks, andSome other fish species, (e.g., the Pacific ocean perch). Humans are viviparous animals as well. Characteristics of Viviparity Viviparous animals invest lots of time in the development and care of the young. The young often take several months to develop in the mother's uterus, and they may stay with their mothers for months or even years (e.g., in the case of dolphins, who may remain within their mother's pod for their entire lives). Thus, the mother does not have many young at a time. In the case of whales, although dead whales have been found with multiple fetuses, mothers usually give birth to just one calf. Seals usually have one pup at a time. This is in contrast to some other marine animals like crabs or fish, which may produce thousands or even millions of young, but the young are usually broadcast out into the ocean where there is relatively little chance of survival. So, while the time and energy investment in viviparous animals is great, their young have a strong chance of survival. Sharks often have more than one pup (hammerheads may have dozens at once), but these sharks grow relatively large in the womb. Although there is no parental care after birth, the young are relatively self-sufficient when they are born. Viviparous Antonym and Other Reproductive Strategies The opposite (antonym) of viviparous is oviparous, in which the organism lays eggs. A very recognizable example of an oviparous animal is the chicken. Marine animals that lay eggs include sea turtles, skates, some sharks, many fish, and nudibranchs. This is probably the most common reproductive strategy used by animals in the ocean. Some animals utilize a reproductive strategy called ovoviviparity; these animals are said to be ovoviviparous. As you could probably guess from the name, this type of reproduction is in between viviparity and oviparity. In ovoviviparous animals, the mother produces eggs, but they develop within her body instead of hatching outside the body. Some sharks and other types of fish use this strategy. Examples include whale sharks, basking sharks, thresher sharks, sawfish, shortfin mako sharks, tiger sharks, lantern sharks, frilled sharks, and angel sharks. Pronunciation VI-vip-are-us Also Known As Live-bearing, bear live young Viviparous, as Used in a Sentence Viviparous shark species include bull sharks, blue sharks, lemon sharks, and hammerhead sharks. Sources Canadian Shark Research Lab. 2007. Skates and Rays of Atlantic Canada: Reproduction. Accessed November 30, 2015.Denham, J., Stevens, J., Simpfendorfer, C.A., Heupel, M.R., Cliff, G., Morgan, A., Graham, R., Ducrocq, M., Dulvy, N.D, Seisay, M., Asber, M., Valenti, S.V., Litvinov, F., Martins, P., Lemine Ould Sidi, M. & Tous, P. and Bucal, D. 2007. Sphyrna mokarran. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. Accessed November 30, 2015.Dictionary.com. Viviparous. Accessed November 30, 2015.Harper, D. Viviparous. Online Etymology Dictionary. Accessed November 30, 2015.NOAA. How Many Babies? Science Activity. Accessed November 30, 2015.NOAA: Voices of the Bay. Fishery Science - Biology and Ecology: How Fish Reproduce. Accessed November 30, 2015.