The sad truth behind Charlotte the stingray’s mysterious ‘pregnancy’

Now her “false pregnancy” may make a splash.

Charlotte the stingray that miraculously turned pregnant regardless of having no males in her tank has a “rare reproductive disease” — that might be an indication she was by no means actually knocked up in any respect, biologists stated Friday.

The Aquarium and Shark Lab in Hendersonville, North Carolina, stated the stingray — who was beforehand thought to have fertilized herself by an uncommon course of referred to as parthenogenesis — launched a obscure announcement about her sickness Thursday.

“The reports show that Charlotte has developed a rare reproductive disease that has negatively impacted her reproductive system,” the aquarium wrote on Facebook. “The findings are truly a sad and unexpected medical development.”

Charlotte the stingray
Charlotte the stingray is affected by a uncommon reproductive illness which will have brought about a “false pregnancy.” Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO/Instagram

It didn’t say the identify of the illness or whether or not she nonetheless had given start.

But a biologist specializing in stingrays advised The Post Friday the superstar sea creature — who captured the world’s consideration along with her potential “virgin” conception — might have suffered from a “false pregnancy-”type illness attributable to dwelling in captivity.

The “polycystic condition” can throw feminine stingrays’ hormones out of whack because of the synthetic setting, inflicting them to provide milk and look bloated and pregnant, stated University of North Florida biologist James Gelsleichter.

“Female stingrays in captivity can develop this weird polycystic condition where you have almost a false pregnancy where eggs start to develop,”  stated Gelsleichter.

“Sometimes their hormone cycle gets messed up, estrogen stimulates the uterus to make this milk,” he stated. “The uterus becomes engorged and they become distended and look pregnant.”

stingray's ultrasound
Charlotte was beforehand anticipating infants, the aquarium stated. Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO/Facebook

“This could cause someone to think a female was pregnant when she wasn’t,” he stated.

Charlotte might have by no means actually been pregnant in any respect, he stated — including it’s unclear if there was a conclusive ultrasound.

“It could have been this [all along],” he stated.

Researchers had theorized Charlotte obtained pregnant by a uncommon course of referred to as parthenogenesis, by which eggs develop on their very own with out fertilization and create a clone of the mom.

 Jim Gelsleichter
Biologist Jim Gelsleichter stated Charlotte might have by no means been pregnant in any respect. Dr. Jim Gelsleichter/X

Others stated she might have been knocked up by a 1-year-old white spot bamboo male shark, which had been in her tank — however biologists stated Friday there was virtually zero likelihood that was true.

“That is cuckoo banana pants. That’s not what happened,” David Shiffman, a marine conservation biologist at Arizona State University, advised The Post.

“Their boy bits and girl bits don’t add up, and neither does their DNA.”

He stated he had no clue what Charlotte’s reproductive bother might be however that most cancers was on the desk.

Aquarium staffers beforehand thought Charlotte’s swelling mid-section is perhaps most cancers in September earlier than exams reportedly revealed she was pregnant.

The aquarium didn’t return The Post’s request for remark Friday. But it promised to offer updates as they develop.

“While the research of this disease is limited, we hope that Charlotte’s case and medical treatment will positively contribute to science and be of benefit to other rays in the future,” it stated on Facebook.

“We sincerely appreciate the incredible outpouring of love and support for Charlotte. Please respect Charlotte and her care team as we navigate this unexpected news and work to determine the best path forward.”


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