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The Scoop: Shark Virgin Welcomes Baby!

New babies are cause for celebration in my book, and this pup is no exception! The baby shark (aka, pup) was recently born in a Hungarian aquarium to a female white-tipped reef shark. The twist comes in that mom, Ibolya, is not only the location's lone female shark . . . she's been all alone in her tank since she was born at the Nyíregyháza Centre seven years ago! "When I saw the baby shark lying on the bottom of the tank, I thought it was a joke," aquarium director Attila Varga said. "I was amazed when I realized it was a real shark."

The rare process of parthenogenesis is where an egg starts to divide without being fertilized. Although it happens with other vertebrates, birds, snakes, reptiles, and even some bony fishes, it had never previously been described in sharks, rays, or any mammals for that matter. It's so unusual that the only other proven example (in captivity) is when a hammerhead shark had a similar situation at Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Neb., back in 2001. Unfortunately for that animal, a stingray killed the pup before it could be safely removed from the tank, but DNA tests completed last year indicated it was indeed a result of a "virgin birth." At this point, Ibolya's baby is the only living example of this miracle!

dwp virgin birth 060208

dwp virgin birth 060208

dwp virgin birth 060208



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