In North Carolina, an aquarium staff was taken aback when a stingray in their tank became pregnant without a male present. The Aquarium and Shark Lab by Team Ecco in Hendersonville reported the stingray’s development of eggs, prompting concerns about cancer. After an ultrasound, the lab’s executive director confirmed that the growths were indeed eggs.
One possible explanation for this pregnancy is parthenogenesis, a process in which a female can produce an embryo without sperm fertilization. This survival mechanism preserves the species and often occurs in situations where no males are present, such as in an aquarium or deep-sea environments.
Scientists later developed another theory after noticing bite marks on the stingray. It was discovered that she shared her tank with two male sharks. One theory suggests that one of these male sharks may have mated with the stingray, resulting in her current pregnancy with two to three pups. However, genetic tests will need to be conducted after birth to confirm this theory.
Interbreeding between sharks and stingrays is theoretically possible due to their close taxonomic relationship. The aquarium staff is eagerly awaiting the stingray’s expected birth and plans to provide updates on their website and Facebook page.