When is Charlotte the stringray’s due date?

When is Charlotte the stingray’s due date?

The internet has been abuzz with the news of Charlotte the stingray, who mysteriously became pregnant without the presence of a male ray in her tank for at least eight years. This captivating story took an even more extraordinary turn when it was suggested that three to four shark “hybrid” babies could be on the way, creating a “once-in-a-lifetime science mystery”.

Currently residing at the Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO in downtown Hendersonville, North Carolina, Charlotte has drawn worldwide attention, vastly increasing the amount of curious visitors to the aquarium since the pregnancy news broke in early February.

Expected to give birth any day now, Charlotte’s due date has been eagerly anticipated by the public, with updates available on a live blog. The pregnancy was confirmed in November but only publicly announced on February 6.

Parthenogenesis, a process by which some animals can reproduce without fertilization, has been suggested as the explanation for Charlotte’s pregnancy. This means the eggs can develop on their own and create a clone of the mother.

While parthenogenesis in stingrays is rare, it’s not unheard of, and it typically results in all female offspring. Dr. April Smith, the director of the North Carolina Science Trail, explained in a blog post that this process is a survival mechanism that allows the preservation of the species.

The speculation that Charlotte could be carrying shark “hybrid” babies has sparked further interest. Brenda Ramer, the executive director of Team Ecco, revealed that Charlotte shares her tank with five small sharks, including two one-year-old white spot bamboo males that were introduced in July 2023. However, research scientist Kady Lyons debunked the idea, stating that a shark-ray hybrid isn’t biologically possible due to anatomical and size differences.

As the world awaits the birth of Charlotte’s offspring, the mystery of her pregnancy continues to captivate audiences globally. This thrilling saga has piqued the interest of science enthusiasts everywhere, as they eagerly await the miraculous event.