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Zebra Shark Makes News by Producing Her Own Babies!

zebra shark

A zebra shark named Leonie surprised scientists in Australia when she gave birth to offspring without the help of a mate!


Scientists checked and her hatchlings contained DNA from Leonie only. In essence, she made the offspring all on her own, marking the first time a switch from sexual to asexual has been witnessed among sharks!


A sexual reproduction itself is not so unusual; when males are scarce, it lets species from snakes to turkeys survive until mates can be found, though it “reduces genetic diversity and adaptability” and leads to “extreme inbreeding,” says study author Christine Dudgeon. One of Leonie’s offspring who’d never reproduced sexually also produced hatchlings using eggs fertilized by a cell known as a polar body. But it was Leonie’s switch from sexual to asexual reproduction that was a “really big surprise,” Dudgeon tells the Brisbane Times. An eagle ray and boa constrictor are the only known vertebrates to have completed the same feat, which experts now acknowledge could occur more often than they realize.


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