Endangered Sawfish Reproduce Asexually
As Destiny’s Child once sang, “All the women who are independent, throw your hands up at me.” Female sawfish could easily adopt the anthem (although, they’d have to throw up their fins). Scientists studying the endangered smalltooth sawfish population in southern Florida found that three percent were the result of parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction. According to marine biologist Andrew Fields, this is the first observed instance of a vertebrate reproducing this way in the wild (birds, reptiles, and sharks have been seen to do this in captivity). The findings were published in Current Biology this week.
Andrew Fields is a Ph.D. candidate of marine and atmospheric science at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York.