A recent DNA test has revealed that Charlie, a female Komodo dragon that lives in Tennessee’s Chattanooga Zoo, conceived her three baby lizards without the help of a male partner. While zookeepers had initially placed her with a male Komodo dragon, Kadal, in the hopes of encouraging breeding, a blood test revealed that she was not interested. Rather, she is the sole biological parent of her 6-month-old triplets — Onyx, Jasper, and Flint — thanks to a process called parthenogenesis.
The zoo explained on Instagram that parthenogenesis refers to a type of reproduction where the female produces offspring without male fertilization. “Our staff is very excited to witness this monumental work of nature and be part of such an important conservation program,” the zoo wrote, adding that the triplets “are growing rapidly and doing very well!”
Parthenogenesis, according to the zoo, evolved in Komodo dragons as a result of how they live in the wild. Apparently, their lives are “isolated” and they “become violent when approached,” which has allowed the lady lizards to develop this handy, male-free method of reproduction. Must be nice!