The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

The oldest continuously published high school newspaper in America

The Willistonian, Est. 1881

Could this Stingray be the next Virgin Mary?

Credit: Instagram

A stingray in North Carolina might be the new Virgin Mary.

Charlotte, a California Round Stingray who has lived in a tank without other stingrays for eight years, is miraculously pregnant.

On February 20, staff at the ECCO Aquarium & Shark Lab, in Herdersonville, N.C, determined that Charlotte became pregnant through a process called parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction in which a female can produce an embryo without fertilizing an egg with sperm.

Hype around Charlotte has grown since the pregnancy was announced on February 8, and because the lab where Charlotte lives is not communicating to the public, there is no end to the attention surrounding the story.

Kady Lyons, a research scientist at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, said Charlotte would be the first known Round Stingray to become pregnant through parthenogenesis.

“We performed an ultrasound last week and have sent these most recent images to colleagues in other professional marine science programs. We eagerly await their report after this holiday weekend,” team ECCO’s Jacob Hensley said in a post on BlueRidgeNow posted on April 2. “The aquarium thanks everyone for their continued support, patience and kindness through Charlotte’s journey.”

Though the average gestational period for a stingray is only three to four months, there is no way of knowing the gestation period for a Stingray [because this is a different type of pregnancy],” according to Pinsley Boyette, Assistant Director of the ECCO Aquarium, who is on watch for the stingray pup.

“We are surveilling them all throughout the night and all throughout the day if we are not here. We are on pup watch,” she said.

Everyone is nervously awaiting to see if the newborn pup will be healthy, as the ultrasound shows that there is one stingray pup alive inside of her womb.

Even popular late night show “Saturday Night Live” did a segment about CharlotteĀ  (Saturday, March 16). In the segment, an actor dressed up as a stingray and answered questions about who the dad was.

The stingray, played by Ego Nwodim, jokes around about how no one knows how she got pregnant: “Do you know how embarrassing it is for someone to ask ‘who got you pregnant?'”

Hayden Hedstrom, a senior from Bolton, Mass., has been following Charlotte’s journey since she was found to be pregnant.

“I always watch the videos when I see them on my For You Page (on TikTok),” she said, “I assumed she had gotten pregnant through the shark in her tank and we were going to see a Stingray and Shark hybrid.”

“Workers had placed sharks in the same tank,” Dr. April Smith, Executive Director the North Carolina Science Trail, said, “stirring debate and conspiracies that maybe she had become pregnant by one of them were disbanded as the ultrasound showed otherwise”

As of Apr. 17, Charlotte has still not given birth to her one miracle pup.

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