The layer of material that covers an animal egg cell. Primary membranes develop in the ovary and cover the egg surface in addition to the normal plasma membrane. The primary membrane is called the vitelline membrane in insects, molluscs, birds, and amphibians, the chorion in tunicates and fish, and the zona pellucida in mammals. Insects have a second thicker membrane, also called the chorion. Secondary membranes are secreted by the oviducts and parts of the genital system while the egg is passing to the outside. They include the jelly coat of frogs' eggs and the albumen and shell of birds' eggs.
Subjects: Biological Sciences.