Sometimes yourself is all you need.
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Endangered female California condors have an ability observed in just a few other bird species: according to new research, they can reproduce without a mate.
On October 28, researchers writing in the Journal of Heredity reported that two California condors in a captive breeding program hatched chicks that had no biological fathers.
Scientists think this is the first case of asexual reproduction among birds who had access to a mate.
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The process, called parthenogenesis, happens when a female creates an embryo from her own genetic material.
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Though most species in the animal kingdom have sex to reproduce, roughly 2,000 are thought to have the ability to create offspring through asexual reproduction.
A captive female yellow-bellied water snake in Missouri gave birth in 2015 despite not having sexual contact with a male for 8 years.
Though not common in snakes, asexual reproduction has been documented in a number of species, from the Burmese python to the Brahminy blind snake.
New Mexico whiptail lizards are an entirely female species — thanks to their ability to create embryos on their own.
It might even give them an evolutionary advantage since they can reproduce more quickly when they don’t need a mate.
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For example, a zebra shark named Leonie birthed pups in 2017 after her partner was moved to a separate tank in 2013.
It may have been a last resort for Leonie — some animals will asexually reproduce when breeding conditions just aren’t ideal.
In July, researchers described an experiment where they isolated scorpions to see if they would be able to reproduce on their own.
Sure enough, they did — but when compared to scorpions in the wild, it seemed that asexual reproduction wasn’t the norm.
These tiny invertebrates that survive in almost any environment also have the ability to reproduce asexually.
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Some colonies are reportedly all-female due to their ability to reproduce through parthenogenesis.
But other tardigrades are hermaphroditic, meaning they can create both eggs and sperm.
Typically, termite colonies are 50/50 male and female. But in 2018, researchers described populations of termites in Japan that are entirely female.
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In 2017, after looking at the genes of asexual vs. sexual nematodes, researchers found asexual lineages tended to do more damage to plants.
Their genetics seem to make them more adaptable to new environments and plant hosts.