Tests Show Pregnant Stingray Charlotte Develops Rare Reproductive Disease


Recent tests have revealed that a stingray in western North Carolina, which was experiencing an unexplained pregnancy, has a rare reproductive disease. Unexpectedly, Charlotte the stingray became pregnant months ago, but she has not given birth yet.

She lives in Hendersonville at the Aquarium and Shark Lab.

The group that looks after Charlotte, Team ECCO, revealed on Facebook that the stingray suffers from “a rare reproductive disease that has negatively impacted her reproductive system.”

Her pregnancy was not mentioned in the post.

Since Charlotte had never interacted with a male stingray, the news that she was pregnant shocked the aquarium staff back in February.

When scientists revealed there were only two incredibly rare ways she could have gotten pregnant, she attracted national attention.

The first possibility is parthenogenesis, or a real virgin birth, in which the eggs develop spontaneously without fertilization to produce a mother clone.

The second possibility—and this may not even be plausible—is that Charlotte mated with male sharks in her tank. Because Charlotte had bite marks on her body—a common behavior seen in sharks mating—this theory was given some thought.

Months have gone by with no sign of delivery, even though doctors had anticipated that she would give birth in a few weeks back in February.