Stingray That Became Mysteriously Pregnant Now Has ‘Reproductive Disease’

Stingray That Became Mysteriously Pregnant Now Has ‘Reproductive Disease’

A female stingray that was discovered to be pregnant, despite not sharing space with a male stingray in at least eight years, has a reproductive disease according to the Aquarium and Shark Lab in Henderson, North Carolina.

The aquarium first announced Charlotte the stingray was pregnant in February, but social media users have been perplexed about the lack of a birth announcement since she was expected to give birth to perhaps four pups in about two weeks.

“The reports show that Charlotte has developed a rare reproductive disease that has negatively impacted her reproductive system,” the aquarium wrote on its Facebook page Thursday. “The findings are truly a sad and unexpected medical development.”

The aquarium says it’s been asked by social media users for the name of the disease, however, it appears to be listed under the text “reproductive disease.”

“We are actively searching more information ourselves,” the aquarium wrote Friday on Facebook. “There have been studies done on southern rays, but we have not found any yet done on round rays,”

Asexual reproduction is extremely rare but has been documented in sharks, Komodo dragons, crayfish, and even one case involving turkeys. As the Associated Press notes, there have been no documented cases of mammals reproducing asexually.

A video posted to the aquarium’s Facebook on March 23 showed the stingray swimming around and noted no change in her eating, swimming, or resting behaviors. The aquarium stressed in a social media post last week that it’s getting medical attention for Charlotte and doing everything it can to hopefully contribute to a better understanding of stingrays and the diseases they face.

“Our priority is to focus on Charlotte’s health and wellbeing,” the aquarium wrote. “We will work with, and be guided by, veterinarians and specialists to better understand this disease and the treatment options for Charlotte. While the research of this disease is limited, we hope that Charlotte’s case and medical treatment will positively contribute to science and be of benefit to other rays in the future.”

“We sincerely appreciate the incredible outpouring of love and support for Charlotte. Please respect Charlotte and her care team as we navigate this unexpected news and work to determine the best path forward. Updates will be given as we are able,” according to the aquarium.

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