Reproduction in Fish


Reproduction in fishes generally involves external fertilization and development of yolk‐reliant offspring; however, there are a variety of live‐bearing species that utilize internal fertilization and a wide array of developmental mechanisms to support their developing young.

Keywords: osteichthyes; chondrichthyes; oviparity; viviparity; reproduction

Figure 1.

Yolk‐reliant shark embryo attached via yolk stalk to the yolk sac.

Figure 2.

Stingray embryo removed from the uterus (ut) lined with trophonemata (tr).

Figure 3.

Placental shark pup with umbilical cord (uc) attached to placenta (p).


Further Reading

Fricke H and Frahm J (1992) Evidence for lecithotrophic viviparity in the living coelacanth. Naturwissenschaften 79: 476–479.

Hamlett WC (1998) Placenta and placental analogs in elasmobranchs. In: Knobil E and Neill JD (eds) Encyclopedia of Reproduction, vol. 3, pp. 197–206. London: Academic Press

Hamlett WC (ed.) (1999) Male reproductive system. In: Sharks, Skates, and Rays: Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes, pp. 444–470. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press

Hamlett WC and Koob T (1999) Female reproductive system. Hamlett WC Sharks, Skates, and Rays: Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes, pp. 398–443. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Heemstra P and Compagno LJV (1989) Uterine cannibalism and placental viviparity in the coelacanth? A skeptical view. Suid‐Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Wetenskap 85: 485–486.

Heemstra P and Greenwood D (1992) New observations on the visceral anatomy of the late‐term fetuses of the living coelacanth fish and the oophagy controversy. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 249: 49–55.

Koob TJ and Callard IP (1991) Reproduction in female elasmobranchs. Kinne RKH Oogenesis, Spermatogenesis and Reproduction, Comparative Physiology, vol. 10, pp. 155–209. Basel: Karger

Schindler JF and Hamlett WC (1993) Maternal–embryonic relations in viviparous teleosts. Journal of Experimental Zoology 266: 378–393.

Wourms JP, Atz JW and Stribling MD (1991) Viviparity and the maternal–embryonic relationship in the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. Environmental Biology of Fishes 32: 225–248.

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Hamlett, William C(Jul 2003) Reproduction in Fish. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001852]