A female stingray became pregnant in an aquarium in North Carolina (USA). This quite confused the staff, because there was no male in her “room”. Scientists have several theories about how this could happen.
April Smith, executive director of the Team Ecco Aquarium and Shark Lab, said animal keepers suspected the female stingray had cancer when she began to swell. But later they underwent an ultrasound scan, which showed pregnancy, writes Business Insider.
In the Laboratory, this is explained by parthenogenesis, a process by which a female can produce an embryo asexually without fertilizing an egg with sperm.
This survival mechanism allows for the preservation of the species and usually occurs in situations where there are no males – for example, in a zoo, an aquarium or a secluded place in the deep sea.
Scientists also noticed bite marks on the male. This led them to believe that the female stingray may have become pregnant by one of the young male sharks she shared the tank with. Sharks are known to bite when mating.
This theory can only be confirmed after the cubs are born. Laboratory workers hope that visual signs of babies will indicate the mixing of species.
The latest ultrasound revealed that the female stingray is pregnant with two, and possibly three, cubs.
Read also: In the USA, a sea elephant saved a female cub that was drowning: scientists are surprised by this display of altruism. PHOTO