The curious case of Charlotte the stingray has gone viral

The curious case of Charlotte the stingray has gone viral

A stingray at the Aquarium & Shark Lab in North Carolina, United States, is pregnant thanks to a very, very rare event - and not the sharks she shares a tank with.

Charlotte the stingray set to give birth
AP / Screenshot

For those unfamiliar with the situation involving Charlotte the round stingray, here's a quick recap so we are all on the same page.

Charlotte is pregnant with four pups despite not coming into contact with a male stingray in eight years.

She shares her tank with sharks at the Aquarium & Shark Lab in North Carolina, USA, as well as a few other underwater critters.

As she has not had the chance to mate with a male stingray, speculation went wild that a shark she shares a tank with is behind the pregnancy - a sea creature scandal if there ever was one!

Sadly for those looking for a juicy underwater tale, this wild theory is impossible in the real world outside of the viral videos and posts posted to social media. Sharks and stingrays cannot mate due to their very different DNA makeup and varying size differences.

READ: Swimmer killed by stingray in Australia

Now that you are all caught up, we wanted to find out the real reason behind the pregnancy.


According to National Geographic, 'For millions of years animals have reproduced via parthenogenesis, which first emerged in some of the smallest, simplest organisms. Most animals that procreate through parthenogenesis are small invertebrates such as bees, wasps, ants, and aphids, which can alternate between sexual and asexual reproduction.'

Kady Lyons, a research scientist working out of the Georgia Aquarium, gave the Associated Press some further insight: “We don’t know why it happens, just that it’s kind of this really neat phenomenon that they seem to be able to do. We should set the record straight that there aren’t some shark-ray shenanigans happening here."

"I’m glad the round stingray is getting the media attention that it deserves. It’s not necessarily as sexy as a white shark, but they do a lot of really neat stuff," Lyons added.

Lyons said that the stingray was not cloning itself, it is purely down to the phenomenon of her egg fusing with another cell, which then leads to the creation of an embryo.

READ: Tiger shark hits the shore in rare event

Charlotte was due to give birth to her little stingrays on Sunday, 18 February, but no news has been released as of yet. However, she is doing very well and everyone at Aquarium & Shark Lab can't wait to see her pups arrive.

Mother Nature, hey, she has a way of surprising us almost every day.

Watch a video from last week regarding Charlotte's condition below:

Did you know? Stingray pups are born fully developed and are able to swim and feed straight after the birth process.


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Image: AP / Screenshot

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