The staff at an aquarium in North Carolina was taken aback when a stingray became pregnant despite there being no male in her tank. After an ultrasound, the lab’s executive director concluded that the growths were indeed eggs, but scientists soon developed another theory after noticing bite marks on the stingray.
It is possible that a male shark may have mated with the stingray and she is currently pregnant with two to three pups. However, genetic tests will need to be conducted after the birth to confirm this theory. As sharks and stingrays are closely related taxonomically, interbreeding between the two species is theoretically possible.
The staff at the aquarium is expecting the stingray to give birth at any moment and plans to provide updates on their website and Facebook page. One possible explanation for the pregnancy is parthenogenesis, a process in which a female can produce an embryo asexually without an egg being fertilized with sperm. This is a survival mechanism to preserve the species and generally occurs in situations where no males are present, such as in an aquarium or a secluded area of the deep sea.