A Very Independent Shark

A female Zebra Shark named Leonie just successfully gave birth to three healthy pups. Extraordinarily, she did so completely on her own without any contribution from a mate. These asexually produced children are rare and so always interesting, but in this scenario Leonie really surprised everyone as she had already had dozens of pups in the early 2000s with a mate. This is just the third documented asexual birth when the female had already done so traditionally, and the first seen by a shark.

“In one of the two other known cases, a female eagle ray switched from sexual reproduction to producing a pup asexually less than one year after being separated from her male partner—which seems like an awfully short grieving period. The other case was even stranger, with a female boa constrictor giving birth to parthenogenic pups after reproducing sexually and while there were males available for her to mate with.”