Primary Egg Envelopes
These are the egg envelopes which develop in the ovary between oocyte and follicle cells in the space occupied by the interdigitating microvilli. Such envelopes have been named variously in different animals.
a) It is named as vitelline envelope or vitelline membrane in insects, molluscs, amphibians and birds.
b) In tunicates and fishes, it is known as chorion. In many sharks and bony fishes the primary envelope has striated appearance and is referred to as zona radiata representing the degraded microvilli of the growing oocyte. The perforation in the zona radiata becomes the micropyle through which the spermatozoa can enter the egg.
c) In mammals, the unstriated and modified zona pellucida is formed as a result of joint efforts of egg and follicle cells. While escaping the Graafian follicle mammalian oocyte carries on the surface of zona pellucida a layer of follicle cells known as corona radiata. The primary envelopes usually stick closely to the egg surface. These later on participate in the formation of fertilization membrane.