Female crocodiles can reproduce asexually, study finds.

 A crocodile at a zoo in Costa Rica surprised zookeepers when it began guarding a spot in her enclosure and becoming aggressive towards anyone who approached. Upon inspection, employees discovered 14 eggs in the area. The zookeepers were shocked because the crocodile had been isolated from other crocodiles for about 16 years and they had believed it was male. Half of the eggs appeared to be fertile, so the zoo owner incubated them. Although none of the eggs hatched, one was opened to find a fully formed stillborn crocodile. Further research revealed that the stillborn was genetically identical to its mother, indicating that the adult crocodile had impregnated herself through facultative parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction. While parthenogenesis has been observed in other animals such as snakes and lizards, this was the first known case involving a crocodile, according to research published on Wednesday.

This discovery has significant implications for the conservation of crocodile species, as it means that a female crocodile can reproduce without the need for a male, which could increase genetic diversity and resilience in isolated populations. However, Booth warns that this does not mean that all female crocodiles can or will reproduce asexually, and further research is needed to understand the conditions that trigger this phenomenon. In the meantime, the crocodile at Parque Reptilandia has been moved to a larger enclosure with a male companion, in the hopes that they will breed naturally.
A crocodile is seen inside an enclosure at NAMA Zoo in Gaza June 1, 2023. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

This discovery has significant implications for the conservation of crocodile species, as it means that a female crocodile can reproduce without the need for a male, which could increase genetic diversity and resilience in isolated populations. However, Booth warns that this does not mean that all female crocodiles can or will reproduce asexually, and further research is needed to understand the conditions that trigger this phenomenon. In the meantime, the crocodile at Parque Reptilandia has been moved to a larger enclosure with a male companion, in the hopes that they will breed naturally. Dwyer's discovery has opened up new avenues for research into crocodile reproduction and could have far-reaching implications for the conservation of these ancient reptiles.

Scientists have discovered that female crocodiles can reproduce without a male, a process known as facultative parthenogenesis. The discovery was made by studying a stillborn crocodile at a reptile park in Costa Rica. Tests showed that the crocodile shared 99.9% of its genes with its mother, indicating that it had been produced asexually. The discovery could help to boost genetic diversity and resilience in isolated populations of crocodiles. However, further research is needed to understand the conditions that trigger the phenomenon. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists American crocodiles as a vulnerable species.
Mateen Faris
By : Mateen Faris
Mateen Faris is a professional journalist since 2011, a media graduate from Iraq University, a technology expert, a media consultant and a member of the International Organization of Journalists - a member of the fact-checking team at Meta Company. He writes in the fields of entertainment, art, science and technology, and believes that the pen can change everything.
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