Reef HQ Aquarium celebrates another leopard shark pup

Reef HQ Aquarium celebrates another leopard shark pup

After 3 years, Reef HQ Aquarium celebrates the birth of another leopard shark.

Our newest baby leopard shark was produced via a process known as parthenogenesis, whereby no male DNA was used. When it was first discovered three years ago at Reef HQ, it was the first known incidence in the world where a leopard shark who had reproduced with a male previously, moved to reproducing via asexual reproduction. This leopard shark, Leonie, was part of a captive breeding program prior to 2012, when she and the male leopard shark were separated. In 2016, Leonie had offspring, which after DNA testing revealed the offspring only had DNA from one parent, a female.

When born, leopard sharks don't have spots, instead they have black and white stripes. This lends to their other name, zebra shark, which is commonly used in other countries. This patterning helps with disguise and to hide from predators. After about 12 months, the stripes will change to spots.