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The viper (or at least the such-named creature queried in this question) is a sexually dimorphic humanoid dragon with a very strange life-cycle

The males are fully humanoid, whereas the females have no pelvis or legs, with a crocodilian tail below the waist. Their method of reproduction is that the female will eat the male's head, which will somehow fertilize the female's eggs. These eggs grow into embryos inside the female's body, until they eat their way out of the female's body. Neither sex has any typical genitalia

My question is: What sort of anatomy could realistically justify this odd reproductive method?

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  • $\begingroup$ The ladies like it when you "give head". $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 22, 2022 at 12:01

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A weird idea:

Parthenogenesis

The real vipers are female-only. The unfertilized eggs can develop further, if some conditions are met. (Some lizards have such a behaviour, but rather as an exception.) The male "vipers" are just humans that happen to be around. One of the weird conditions for viper parthenogenesis to work is ingestion of rather high quantity of whatever proteins present in human heads.

A bonus is that a species turns to parthenogenesis if there are too few or no males around. So, the vipers are not really in a good shape as a species / folk / community. This also means that there were male vipers around, but are not anymore. Hence, there was sexual reproduction in vipers, they have the organs for that.

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Male is humanoid

a little Ockham-knife challenge to "fertilizing by eating the head"

You'll need a lot of anatomical changes, your answer illustrates that.

Getting fertilized by eating something is problematic anyway. As you put in your own answer, you'll need acid-resistant transport mechanisms in place, you'll need a way to keep the sperm cells intact over a much longer trajectory/time than usual. Food can take hours to reach the intestinal tract.

For humanoid males, having sperm glands near your mouth will look a bit artificial, mammals don't do that. Try to visualize it.


My variant is only a small change: eating the head remains essential, but not for the fertilization itself.

Mating before the kill

The male needs to penetrate the female before being eaten, and fertilize the eggs that reside in her intestinal tract. To do that, the male will need a long, flexible dick. The mating ritual of vipers will involve a good f**k, the female will be fertilized and at the end of that ritual she'll eat her partner, head first.. Meanwhile, her eggs become fertilized and settle in her intestinal tract, waiting for the essential food (the male brain tissue) to arrive.

A civilized female viper will use a spoon, of course.

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Cephalic Gonads and Acidophilic Gametes

The gonads would be placed near the mouth, replacing salivary glands. These would produce gametes adapted to survive in the stomach

When the male's head is eaten, sperm from the chewed-up testes in the head would mix with eggs from the female's saliva, and flow down into the stomach

There, the embryos would develop, growing in the stomach and intestines until they are grown, at which point they can burst free

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