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Unit 4: Animal Structure and Function

Chapter 24. Animal Reproduction and Development

Photo shows a yellow seahorse with its tail curled around a fragment of coral.

Figure 24.1.  Female seahorses produce eggs for reproduction that are then fertilized by the male. Unlike almost all other animals, the male seahorse then gestates the young until birth. (credit: modification of work by “cliff1066″/Flickr)

Introduction

Animal reproduction is necessary for the survival of a species. In the animal kingdom, there are innumerable ways that species reproduce. Asexual reproduction produces genetically identical organisms (clones), whereas in sexual reproduction, the genetic material of two individuals combines to produce offspring that are genetically different from their parents. During sexual reproduction the male gamete (sperm) may be placed inside the female’s body for internal fertilization, or the sperm and eggs may be released into the environment for external fertilization. Seahorses, like the one shown in Figure 24.1, provide an example of the latter. Following a mating dance, the female lays eggs in the male seahorse’s abdominal brood pouch where they are fertilized. The eggs hatch and the offspring develop in the pouch for several weeks.

License

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Chapter 24. Animal Reproduction and Development by Charles Molnar and Jane Gair is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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