A bamboo shark that has had no contact with males for 2 years is pregnant, a real pregnant virgin!

Have you ever heard of that show, Jane the Virgin? Well, now there is a real example of this, except in shark form. The difference is, no one helped this shark conceive. She has done that all on her own somehow!  A real pregnant virgin, and it’s a shark?

This shark hasn’t had any contact with any males of its species for over two years and has now given birth to two babies. The shark, a white-spotted bamboo shark came to  the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre in 2013.  It was evacuated in a sister centre that was damaged severely due to a flood. She is the only member of her species in the center and had no contact with any male sharks. The experts discovered, against  all odds, discovered that she has produced to eggs that are fertile! There are high hopes that the two babies will survive as they would be great testaments to the conception abilities of a shark, the only species to be discovered that can conceive without a male.

Darren Gook, marine biologist and shark expert said: “They will be the first such births in the Sea Life network, and we’re excited and privileged to be expecting such a miraculous event.”

This discovery comes at the same time that Germany announced a similar situation that was observed in Munich from the same species of shark. Darren said: “The process is called parthenogenesis, and has long been known to occur in domestic chickens and some reptiles, but was not recorded in sharks until 2008. Females somehow manage to add an extra set of chromosomes to their eggs to produce offspring that are either clones or half-clones of themselves. It has been recorded in bonnethead, blacktip and zebra sharks, as well as white-spotted bamboos. It was assumed offspring born this way were infertile and it was an evolutionary dead end, but events in Germany have now disproved that. One explanation for asexual reproduction is that it is nature’s way of ensuring the survival of the species if there is a drastic decline in numbers that makes it harder for males and females to locate each other.”

The eggs were moved to a safer tank that can be viewed by visitors and allow for close monitoring to determine their development.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/09/female-bamboo-shark-is-due-for-virgin-birth-at-sea-life-centre