Stingray’s “Miracle Pregnancy” Has Aquarists Puzzled… Is The Father A Shark?!

Team ECCO employee snorkels and pets the pregnant stingray named Charlotte.

What do you get when you cross a stingray with a shark? An aquarium in Hendersonville, North Carolina may just give us the answer in the coming days! The reason why is fascinating to say the least. It all started in September when the female stingray at the Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO began to swell. Since the aquarium doesn’t have a male stingray, they didn’t consider they might have a pregnant stingray on their hands.

Instead, they suspected the stingray, whose name is Charlotte, had cancer. But when tests proved she was cancer-free, the truth became clear: Charlotte was set to give birth to four little ones! But the question still remained… who is the dad?

According to Team ECCO, there are two possibilities. The first is called parthenogenesis. This is when female eggs develop on their own without fertilization. This would be the stingray cloning herself. Although not impossible, it’s much more common in sharks.

“It’s a once in a bluest of blue moons experience,” Brenda Ramer, founder and executive director of Team ECCO shares.

The other possibility is somehow even more extraordinary — the father is a shark. There are a few reasons why this may be the case.

Brenda Ramer, founder and executive director of Team ECCO, stands in front of a take at the aquarium and talks with news crew.

First of all, two of Charlotte’s tank-mates were sharks named Larry and Moe. These white spot bamboo sharks were 1 years old when they first joined Charlotte. That’s why Brenda says “we did not think there would be an issue.”

North Carolina Aquarium Discovers Shark May be the Father of a Pregnant Stingray

“We started to notice bite marks on Charlotte, but saw other fish nipping at her, so we moved fish, but the biting continued,” Brenda explains.

Turns out, though, that bite marks are an indicator of mating in sharks. All of these things added together make Larry or Moe the potential father.

Team ECCO employee snorkels and pets the pregnant stingray named Charlotte.

“We’re either going to have partho babies or we’re going to have some kind of a potential mixed breed,” Brenda says, adding, “And we’re waiting for Jeff Goldblum to show up because we are Jurassic Park right now!”

If Charlotte actually does give birth to stingray-shark babies, it will certainly be a first. But we won’t find out for sure until the little ones are born and a DNA test is done. In the meantime, Brenda and the others at Team ECCO are doing everything they can to prepare for this highly anticipated birth.

“We’re kind of expecting a deluge, which is great and that’s fine,” Brenda happily shares. “We want people to come and see her (Charlotte) and talk to us about her.”

Brenda says that if all goes well, a live stream will be set up so folks at home can see the pups once they’re born. Either way, you can stay up to date on this unexpected journey on their Facebook page.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

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