Three "Virgin Births" for a Shark in Australia
Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium plays host to the rare event.
Photo: A leopard shark pup, Cleo, one of three born to a 'virgin' mom, takes food in her holding tank. Credit: Facebook/Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium.
A female leopard shark in an aquarium in Australia has done something not unprecedented but always fascinating: She's delivered three babies without the aid of a Mr. Shark.
The scene of the "virgin births" was the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, in Queensland. It's the first time the shark, named Leonie, has reproduced without a father, having been separated in 2013 from her last mate.
All told this year, Leonie has laid 41 eggs, according to the aquarium's video update on the births (below) .
Leonie's three children are all females (Cleo, CC and Gemini).
"During a virgin birth the mother can only produce females because she can only pass on her genetic information," Laura Coulton, a scientist with the aquarium, told the Daily Mail.
However, she added, the babies are not genetic replicas, as their genes have been "reshuffled" a bit.
WATCH VIDEO: "Update from Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium on the New Shark Pups"
Hat tip: Daily Mail