11 September 2012

As in the cage, so in the wild

Brian Switek (a.k.a. Laelaps) reports on a new case of parthenogenesis in the wild, in not one, but two species of snakes this time: copperheads and cottonmouths.

(I)n zoos and aquariums, zoologists have begun to document the strange phenomenon of facultative parthenogenesis: females of species that usually reproduce sexually, delivering offspring without mating. Surprise pregnancies have been documented among birds, sharks, snakes and Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis), but until now, only in captivity.

Very interesting stuff. Clearly some implications for the various reports of parthenogenesis in crayfish...

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