Female zebra shark prefers ‘virgin birth’ even when sharing an aquarium with healthy males

A female zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) gave birth by fertilizing her own eggs despite sharing the same tank with two healthy males who might possibly be willing to help, a new study reports. Journal of Fish Biology (opens in new tab). This unusual scenario challenges previous assumptions about the risks and benefits of parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction sometimes nicknamed “virgin birth,” according to the study’s authors.

“This is the second case in which we know where sharks are born through parthenogenesis, even when there are healthy mates,” the study author said. Kevin Feldheim (opens in new tab) One from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago expression (opens in new tab). “This latest article is just another step in learning why these ‘virgin births’ happen.”

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