In this amazing story Leonie the Zebra Shark has been living apart from males for the past 5 years when she was moved in 2012 from the Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville, Australia where she did have a mate and several litters.
But in April 2016 despite having been apart from male Zebra Sharks Leonie surprised keepers when she laid eggs which produced 3 baby sharks.
Keepers were baffled trying to come up with a solution to how this could happen saying:
“We thought she could be storing sperm; but when we tested the pups and the possible parent sharks using DNA fingerprinting, we found they only had cells from Leonie,” said University of Queensland biologist Christine Dudgeon, who described the case in the journal Scientific Reports Monday (Jan. 16). [7 Unanswered Questions About Sharks]
Parthenogenesis is when embryos develop and mature without male fertilisation. In most of these previous parthenogenesis cases, the females were from captive environments and never had any exposure to male mates during their reproductive prime, Dudgeon and her colleagues wrote. That makes Leonie one of the rare individuals known to have had babies by sexual reproduction only to switch to asexual reproduction later on.
“Leonie adapted to her circumstances, and we believe she switched because she lost her mate,” Dudgeon said in a statement. “What we want to know now is, ‘Could this occur in the wild?
Is this crazy or what? Amazing how nature can adapt for survival. Right??