Female Komodo Dragon Conceives Without A Male Partner
By Melissa Malamut
Sorry, Kadal, you are not the father!
When the Chattanooga Zoo announced last September that Charlie, the zoo’s female Komodo dragon, birthed three hatchlings, zoo staff weren’t exactly sure how Charlie conceived.
Did she breed with Kadal, the zoo’s male dragon, with whom she was placed in the hopes that they’d mate? Or would she reproduce all on her own?
Turns out, Charlie doesn’t need a man, thank you very much.
“DNA results show that the hatchlings were, in fact, reproduced through parthenogenesis!” the zoowrote on Instagram, while channeling daytime television’s paternity test champion Maury Povich.
“Although Kadal and Charlie were placed together in hopes of breeding, our staff is very excited to witness this monumental work of nature and be part of such an important conservation program.”
Parthenogenesis, the zoo explains, is “a type of reproduction where the female produces offspring without male fertilization.” Because Komodo dragons can live isolated lives, female dragons have evolved to where they can reproduce through sex and also parthenogenetically, the zoo says.