Aquarium shocked by stingray's mysterious pregnancy!
Hendersonville, North Carolina - There's a mysterious pregnancy at the Team Ecco Aquarium & Shark Lab aquarium in Hendersonville, North Carolina. A stingray named Charlotte is pregnant, but there's no male animal in her tank!
A stingray named Charlotte is about to give birth to anywhere between two and four pups, which is exciting.
However, there's something extra special about this stingray's pregnancy.
She may have created her babies all on her own, as reported by The Sun.
In September, Team Ecco staff noticed that the fish's body was swelling and suspected the 12-16-year-old ray had cancer.
The staff did an ultrasound, and instead of finding a tumor as expected, they found that Charlotte was pregnant – despite the absence of male rays in her tank!
Could this pregnant stingray be carrying a new species?
Veterinarians have two theories as to how Charlotte got pregnant. Her pups could be the result of parthenogenesis, a process in which the eggs develop independently without fertilization and form a clone of the mother.
While parthenogenesis sounds wild, the keepers' second theory is crazier. They believe Charlotte may have mated with one of the young sharks that shared her tank at the end of the summer, which would mean she's carrying a whole new species!
Stingrays carry their pups for about three to four months. Team Ecco has been documenting Charlotte's baby wait on social media, and she's ready to pop any day now. As soon the ray's pups are born, the team thinks they will be able to see if the young are clones of Charlotte or a whole new species.
Either way, they will perform DNA tests to determine if a male animal was involved in the suprise pregnancy.
Cover photo: Screenshot/Facebook/Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO