In North Carolina, a stingray in the Aquarium and Shark Lab by Team Ecco was unexpectedly found to be pregnant, despite there being no male in her tank. This has led to much confusion among the staff, with theories about how this happened.
One theory is that a male shark could be the father, as bite marks were noticed on the stingray. Another possibility is that the stingray experienced parthenogenesis, a process where a female can produce an embryo asexually. This survival mechanism typically occurs in situations where no males are present.
April Smith, the lab’s executive director, wrote in a blog post about these theories and how parthenogenesis could be a possible explanation for the stingray’s pregnancy. However, with the most recent ultrasound showing two possible pups and possibly three, it is also possible that interbreeding between sharks and stingrays due to their close relation may have occurred.
The animal is expected to give birth soon, and updates will be posted on the aquarium’s website and Facebook page as they become available.