3 Animals That Reproduce Through Cloning!
We may be decades away from perfecting human cloning, but several animal species seem to have figured it out already!
In today’s post, we will go over 3 animals who can reproduce without a mate!
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#1: Amazonian Ants
While Amazonian ants are not named after the Amazon warrior women of Greek mythology, their populations are structured the same. You’re unlikely to find many males.
When biologists from the University of Arizona were studying these ants, they were surprised by how just few males were to be found. In fact, there were none!
For Amazonian ants, the Queen produces genetically identical daughters, so there is no need for male ants in the colony.
This helps the colony focus its efforts on obtaining food, since there is no energy spent on pursuing mates.
However, it also makes them especially vulnerable to disease. With no genetic diversity, a virus that kills one of them could kill all of them.
As you’ll see, other animals have different processes for asexual reproduction, making them less susceptible to disease than these ants.
#2: Sea Stars
Although sea stars do not exclusively reproduce without mating, they are able to if necessary.
It is well known that starfish can regrow lost limbs. But did you know that in some starfish species, the detached limb will also regrow its body?
This process is called “fission.” In this case, the sea star actually splits in half, including splitting its central disk in half. As a result, each piece only needs to regrow a few limbs.
This produces two genetically identical children!
This is, however, only seen in a small minority of sea star species. Only 24 species have been known to reproduce this way. However, all sea star species can regenerate lost limbs.
#3: Komodo Dragons
In 2006, Zookeepers at the Chester Zoo in England were shocked when Flora, a female Komodo Dragon who had never been housed with a male, gave birth!
When scientists ran genetic tests, they found that Flora somehow fertilized her own eggs herself!
However, unlike Amazonian ants or sea stars, her children were not complete genetic duplicates.
Normally, a mother and father each provide a half-set of chromosomes, but in this unique case, the mother was able to duplicate her own half-set!
This process is called “parthenogenesis,” and it’s incredibly rare among vertebrates. It’s more common among animals with simpler anatomy.
Unlike humans, female Komodo dragons require two different sex chromosomes (W and Z). The males only need two Zs.
Since all of her offspring received duplicates of the same DNA, they were all born male, and identical to one another. But obviously not identical to their mother!
So, while Komodo Dragons don’t technically clone themselves, they can supply all of the DNA themselves, forgoing the need for a mate.
It’s unlikely that your home will be infested with creatures who can reproduce without mating. But many household pests are still able to multiple at astounding rates.
For instance, mice can give birth to up to 12 babies at a time, 10 times per year!
So, for humane solutions to your pest infestation problems, or for more information on how to resolve them, please contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information.
Thanks for reading!
-Wildlife x Team International