New England Aquarium mystified by birth of baby anacondas in all-female exhibit

BOSTON (WHDH) - Two green baby anacondas were recently born in an all-female exhibit at the New England Aquarium in Boston, making them “biological celebrities” due to the fact that they were created without fertilization from a male, officials said.

The two-foot-long babies are a product of the unusual form of asexual reproduction called parthenogenesis or “virgin birth” in Greek, according to the aquarium.

Parthenogenesis is more common in the plant world and among animals without a backbone but is very rare among vertebrates. It’s only been documented among lizards, birds, sharks, and snakes.

The phenomenon involving Anna, the mother of the babies, is only the second known confirmed case for green anaconda.

“Anna’s life history was well known, she had been born in the care of a certified reptile organization and had come to the Aquarium as a very young animal with no exposure to adult males,” the aquarium said. “The ruling out process had eliminated any other suspects but parthenogenesis.”

The aquarium’s Amazon exhibit features several tanks, including the anacondas’ home. The babies are not yet on display.

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