Scientists are shocked after an aquarium found a “miracle” baby shark had been born in a tank of all females.
A male shark had not been present in the tank for over a decade, leaving scientists to believe it could be a case of asexual reproduction.
The aquarium shared the news on Facebook, explaining that they speculate the baby was born from parthenogenesis.
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They said (translated): “If confirmed by DNA analysis, it would be the world’s first documented parthenogenesis [in the species].”
Parthenogenesis is a form of natural asexual reproduction that occurs when an egg develops into an embryo without the help of a male. It doesn’t require fertilization by a sperm.
This form of reproduction has been documented in multiple species including bees, wasps, aphids, and rattlesnakes according to National Geographic. Other species to have used this reproductive method include specific shark species, rays, and certain reptiles.
However, if DNA samples confirm that the baby was born through parthenogenesis, it’ll be the first documented case of a smooth-hound shark ever reproducing this way.
The miracle baby was named Ispera by staff, which means “Hope” in Sardinian.
Staff at the aquarium have sent two DNA samples, one from each of the female sharks in the tank, to be tested and matched to the baby. Once the results are in, we’ll know for sure how Ispera came to be.
Documenting asexual reproduction in smooth-hound sharks would be a massive scientific breakthrough and could help further research on the species.
See Ispera in the video below:Whizzco