Science has a way of surprising us, and the birth of a miraculous baby shark in Italy is no exception.
“Ispera,” as she’s been dubbed by aquarium employees, was born in a tank with no male sharks for almost a decade.
Scientists believe that the common smooth-hound shark may be the product of asexual reproduction, with the parent being one of the two adult females in the tank.
The two females have been living together for almost a decade, according to aquarium employees at the Acquario Cala Gonone in Sardinia.
This might be the first time parthenogenesis reproduction has been observed in a shark.
Parthenogenesis is a natural process that happens in plants, invertebrates like scorpions and bees, vertebrates like fish and reptiles, and in extremely rare occasions, birds.
It’s a type of asexual reproduction in which a female egg grows into an embryo without the use of sperm. One egg will usually serve as a sperm and fertilize another.
As a result, Ispera is very certainly a clone of one of the adult females. DNA samples from both have been submitted to a specialized laboratory in the hopes of verifying this possibility.
If the idea concerning Ispera is proven, it would be a huge scientific breakthrough. Demonstrating that this type of reproduction is possible in common smooth-hounds might lead to more investigation into whether it occurs naturally.
In a similar occurrence, a baby brownbanded bamboo shark was born at a tank with only three female adults in a California aquarium in 2012.
For the past five years, these sharks have not interacted with males.
However, DNA research revealed that the shark pup’s genetic makeup differed from that of the adults.
Researchers concluded that it was an example of long-term sperm storage, stating, “Previous investigations on sharks have documented sperm storage durations of 13 to 28 months.”
“This is the oldest recorded example of sperm preservation and successful fertilization for any species of shark, considering females had not been in contact with males for at least 45 months.”
Let us know your opinons in the comments.