How does fertilization differ from copulation?

1 Answer
Jun 10, 2015

Fertilization in general cannot occur without copulation, especially animals.


The act of bringing the genital organs closer together to enhance the chances of fertilization occurring is called copulation. Other terms synonymous with this are 'mating' or 'sexual intercourse'.

Plants do not need copulation. Certain invertebrates do not.
But, if we look at mammals, the genital organs of the male--must physically interact with the female genitals to lessen the distance for sperm to travel to the egg. This increases the chances for fertilization to occur.
Fertilization is the actual joining together of two cells, the male and female gamete, to become one diploid cell, the zygote.
Fertilization can happen inside an organism (hence copulation) or even outside. It is necessary for the species to continue. Copulation itself is not always necessary for fertilization.