07 June 2019

Celebrate diversity: Another member of Club Asexual

Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)

The list of parthenogenetic species slowly inches up. This time, it’s the Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) that continues increasing the list.

According to an interview on NPR, this discovery was made almost by happenstance. The policy of the zoo where the animals was kept was to toss unfertilized eggs. But someone thought, “Let’s try incubating them. It doesn’t take any time.”

Thus are discoveries made. Most eggs went bad, but the Asian water dragon’s... did not.

This makes me wonder just how many more species are capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction, and if there is a way to systematically test for this instead of just hoping for lucky accidents. 


KL Miller, Castañeda Rico S, Muletz-Wolz CR, Campana MG, McInerney N, Augustine L, Frere C, Peters AM, Fleischer RC. 2019. Parthenogenesis in a captive Asian water dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) identified with novel microsatellites. PLOS ONE 14(6): e0217489. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217489

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