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Komodo Dragon Has Three Babies Without Involvement From Male

Komodo Dragon Has Three Babies Without Involvement From Male

A Komodo dragon has given birth without any involvement from a male in a rare occurrence at a zoo in the US.

Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee proudly shared the news that one of their female Komodo dragons was expecting three hatchlings last year. However, the zoo has since discovered that the female - named Charlie - created the babies through a process called parthenogenesis.

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The zoo carried out DNA tests on the young animals to determine if they were the offspring of a male Komodo dragon, called Kadal, or if they were a product of parthenogenesis, which turned out to be the case.

Credit: Chattanooga Zoo
Credit: Chattanooga Zoo

An expert from the zoo explained that female Komodo dragons carry sex chromosomes of WZ with males carrying ZZ.

In a statement the zoo explained: "When parthenogenesis occurs, the mother can only create WW or ZZ eggs. Eggs with the sex chromosomes of WW are not viable, leaving only ZZ eggs to produce all male hatchlings."

Parthenogenesis is extremely rare, with the first recorded case in Komodo dragons occurring back in 2006.

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In a post on Instagram, the zoo added: "In the wild, Komodo dragons mainly live isolated and often become violent when approached, which has allowed these animals to evolve to reproduce both sexually and parthenogenetically."

View this post on Instagram
Our Komodo Dragon hatchling DNA results are in! *Maury Voice* Kadal, you are NOT the father! In September 2019, we announced that our female Komodo Dragon, Charlie, had become a first-time mother to three hatchlings. At the time, it was unknown if they were a product of breeding with our male, Kadal, or if parthenogenesis had occurred. DNA results show that the hatchlings were, in fact, reproduced through parthenogenesis! The six-month-old brothers named Onyx, Jasper, and Flint, are growing rapidly and doing very well! Although Kadal and Charlie were placed together in hopes of breeding, our staff is very excited to witness this monumental work of nature and be part of such an important conservation program. Parthenogenesis is a type of reproduction where the female produces offspring without male fertilization. In the wild, Komodo dragons mainly live isolated and often become violent when approached, which has allowed these animals to evolve to reproduce both sexually and parthenogenetically. This Saturday, February 29 through Sunday, March 1st, the Komodo dragon hatchlings will be viewable by the public in the Forests of the World habitat building. We encourage everyone to visit us and see them up close! #chattzoo #chattanoogazoo #komododragon #komododragons #komododragonhatching #babyanimals #hatchlings #parthenogenesis #noogagram #chattanoogafun @officialmauryshow #mauryshow
A post shared by Chattanooga Zoo (@chattanoogazoo) on

The zoo had placed Charlie and Kadal together in hopes of them breeding, but it turns out Charlie didn't need the assistance of a fella and decided to procreate all by herself.

The three male hatchlings, named Onyx, Jasper, and Flint, are now six months old - the zoo says they're 'growing rapidly and doing well'.

Dardenelle Long, Chattanooga Zoo CEO and president said: "Our staff is thrilled to play a part and to be able to witness this truly miraculous occurrence. As the Komodo dragon is listed as vulnerable to extinction, these hatchlings are even more special and represent a bright future for their species."

Although they look pretty cute right now, once fully grown Komodo dragons can weigh a whopping 91kg (14.3st) and measure 2.6m (8.5ft).

Featured Image Credit: Chattanooga Zoo

Topics: Interesting, US News, Weird, Animals

Claire Reid

Claire is a journalist at LADbible who, after dossing around for a few years, went to Liverpool John Moores University. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and a whole load of debt. When not writing words in exchange for money she is usually at home watching serial killer documentaries surrounded by cats. You can contact Claire at [email protected]