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Reproduction in Monotremes and Marsupials

  1. Marilyn Renfree,
  2. Geoffrey Shaw

Published Online: 30 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001856



How to Cite

Renfree, M. and Shaw, G. 2001. Reproduction in Monotremes and Marsupials. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAY 2001


The three subclasses of mammals are most clearly distinguished from one another by their mode of reproduction and the anatomy of their reproductive tracts. The three species of monotreme are all oviparous, whereas the 276 or more living species of marsupial all give birth to small, altricial young that in most species are retained in the mother's pouch during the extended lactational period.


  • pouch;
  • altricial young;
  • platypus;
  • kangaroo;
  • lactation