Freckle the eagle ray gives birth through rare reproductive process despite nine years alone

A female stingray has given birth to a baby at a Sydney aquarium - despite not having contact with a male in nine years.

Freckle, an 11-year-old eagle ray who lives at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, went through parthenogenesis, a "very rare reproductive strategy where an embro develops without fertilisation," Macquarie University's Adam Stow explained to Nine News.

"It is a rare occurrence among vertebrates such as eagle rays, so this is a very special arrival."

Senior aquarist Libby Eyre said the team noticed something was going on several months ago, but "initially dismissed pregnancy" due to the lack of male eagle rays.

In late July, Freckle's baby Ani - short for Anakin Skywalker, otherwise known as Darth Vader - was born.

The now four-week-old ray was named after the movie villain due to their lack of fathers.

"There were screams of excitement from the staff - everyone was amazed at the process of having produced a little ray with no males in the tank," Ms Eyre said.

Marine experts are stunned by what happened to Freckle at Sealife Sydney Aquarium. Source: 1 NEWS

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