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Aquarium responds to backlash after stingray gets pregnant without any mates in her tank

Aquarium responds to backlash after stingray gets pregnant without any mates in her tank

Staff have issued a statement after Charlotte the stingray hit headlines

An aquarium that hit headlines after a female stingray was found to be pregnant - despite never coming into contact with a mate - has issued a statement following a flurry of comments from members of the public.

Staff at The Aquarium and Shark Lab in North Carolina were left puzzled after discovering Charlotte the stingray was pregnant - as she’d never been in contact with a male of her species.

Concerned staff initially thought she might have cancer after noticing some swelling on the fish back in September, but an ultrasound confirmed that she was pregnant.

A staff member said: “We have been doing ultrasound on our ray, Charlotte, since September, when she began to swell. We documented multiple 'growths' internally and initially thought she had a cancer.

“I reached out to Dr. Rob Jones, the aquarium vet, and he identified the growths as eggs. We have no male ray. He said there have been few cases of parthenogenesis in rays.”

Parthenogenesis is an unusual and rare phenomenon in which an egg develops without being fertilised, effectively making a clone of its mother.

Experts carried out an ultrasound on the stingray.

However, this isn’t the only theory the team are working with - as staff believe that Charlotte could have been impregnated by one of the male one-year-old sharks that was placed in the same tank as her back in the summer.

The unusual story hit headlines over the weekend, prompting speculation from the general public.

So much so, staff member Brenda Ramer took to Facebook to address the comments and personal stands being made about the ‘lovely and special’ fish.

Ramer wrote: "With all of the interest and chaos surrounding Charlotte, I am going to ask that you please do not use our platform for wonder and research to make a personal stand or comments to prove yourself and your knowledge to other readers.

The aquarium has since issued a statement.
Facebook/Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO

"We are a very unique site, with staff and volunteers who work hard to care for our marine and reptile residents. We research and train and promote science education and adventure.

"Charlotte is a special and lovely fish. We are sharing her experience with you as a way to learn together. It is our gift. Please, do not disqualify our event.

"Just because something has not happened or has not been documented does not make it impossible. Science is discovery. And besides, none of us know what has happened in the big ocean because we are not always there."

The experts plan on carrying out a DNA test on Charlotte’s offspring to try and get to the bottom of the mystery.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO

Topics: US News, Science, Animals