To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Charlotte the virgin stingray that got pregnant by herself has died

Charlotte the virgin stingray that got pregnant by herself has died

The Virgin Mary of the aquarium tank had developed a 'rare disease' in recent months

Charlotte the virgin stingray has died. Yep, the underwater creature who somehow got pregnant all by herself is sadly no longer with us.

The supposed Virgin Mary was found to be pregnant back in September 2023, when staff at The Aquarium and Shark Lab noticed she was getting pretty swollen.

However, after Team ECCO in North Carolina, US, said they had discovered she was pregnant with four pups, things took a sad turn.

Charlotte’s carers were pretty baffled because the virally famous stingray was in a tank with no possible baby daddies.

Experts were left to believe that a phenomenon, known as parthenogenesis, was the most likely explanation for her pregnancy, which is the scientific term used to describe a virgin birth.

This is known as a form of asexual reproduction where a female of the species can produce an embryo, despite the absence of sperm fertilising Charlotte’s eggs.

A pretty rare phenomenon, it can occur in some insects, fish, amphibians, birds and reptiles but not in mammals.

But after fans grew increasingly concerned as they had been expecting some happy baby news, Team ECCO shared that she had shared a ‘rare reproductive disease’ towards the end of May.

Charlotte had a lot of fans. (Instagram/@teamecco)
Charlotte had a lot of fans. (Instagram/@teamecco)

And now, it has been confirmed that the famed virgin stingray has passed.

“We are sad to announce, after continuing treatment with her medical care team and specialist, our ray Charlotte passed away today,” the American aquarium wrote.

It thanked fans for their ‘love and support’ and didn’t go into further detail about her passing.

Many shared tributes to Charlotte on social media as one penned: "RIP Charlotte the stingray, what a rollercoaster you took us on."

Another added: "Sad news."

While a third wrote: "I just found out Charlotte the Stingray passed away and I am UPSET!"

The Virgin Mary of the tank. (Team ECCO)
The Virgin Mary of the tank. (Team ECCO)

After Team ECCO announced that the ray was no longer pregnant in recent months, the aquarium temporarily closed to the public on 1 June. And it is now going to remain closed for the time being as the staff continue to feed and care for the other animals there.

The apparently total virgin’s pregnancy captured the internet and her story even ended up making it onto Jimmy Kimmel’s show as well as Saturday Night Live.

Experts at Team ECCO had first thought Charlotte had developed cancer before an ultrasound reportedly revealed the ‘growths’ were actually eggs.

The post about the ray’s ‘reproductive disease’ called the findings ‘truly a sad and unexpected medical development’.

Rest in Peace, Charlotte.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@teamecco

Topics: Animals, Environment, Science, US News