Female Stingray Gets Pregnant Without a Male Partner

A stingray in a North Carolina aquarium became pregnant without a male in the tank. As per many scientists, a male shark could be the father

The Aquarium and Shark Lab by Team Ecco in Hendersonville was initially concerned that the stingray had cancer when she began to swell. However, an ultrasound later revealed that the growth were eggs, the lab’s executive director wrote in a blog post.

The director, April Smith, said that one possible explanation was parthenogenesis, a process in which a female can produce an embryo asexually without an egg being fertilized with sperm.

She said that this was a survival mechanism that allows for the preservation of a species and typically happens in situations where no males are present, such as in a zoo or aquarium or even in a secluded area of the deep sea.

However, scientists developed another theory when they noticed bite marks on the stingray. The stingray had been sharing her tank with two white-spot bamboo male sharks.

“Then our light bulb went off — sharks bite to mate — did one of our young males mate with her?” Smith wrote.

The stingray was found to be pregnant with two or three pups during the latest ultrasound, as reported by her.

She clarified that their hypothesis would have to be verified after the birth, unless they identify any visible signs of a hybrid breed.

Since sharks and stingrays are closely related from a taxonomical perspective, breeding between them is theoretically feasible.

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