Meet the celebrity stingray living just outside the Land of the Sky

Charlotte the round stingray has been making international headlines for her rare pregnancy — and she’s living down the road in Hendersonville.

View of the outside of the aquarium with an ocean blue overhang that has two clown fish.

Crowds gathered outside the aquarium to catch a glimpse of Charlotte.

Photo by AVLtoday

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or a coral reef), the world has been captivated by the story of Charlotte the pregnant stingray. But why is she making headlines? Charlotte will soon give birth to four babies — but she hasn’t shared a tank with a male stingray in eight years. Well we’re seas-ing the opportunity to tell you all you need to know about Charlotte, because this famous fish lives at the Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO in Hendersonville.

Time for a biology lesson

Although there have been speculations of a rendezvous between Charlotte and one of the aquarium’s sharks, scientists have been quick to put those rumors to rest. The likely theory behind Charlotte’s unique pregnancy is parthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction where an embryo can grow from an egg without ever being fertilized.

Another reason Charlotte is the matter of the moment? There aren’t any documented cases of parthenogenesis occurring in round stingrays, Georgia Aquarium research scientist Dr. Kady Lyons shared with AP News. But that doesn’t mean this event can be discounted.

Staff at the Aquarium & Shark Lab wrote in a Facebook post, “Just because something has not happened or has not been documented does not make it impossible. Science is discovery.”

Follow Charlotte’s journey

Charlotte is expected to give birth any day now. Keep an eye on the aquarium’s Instagram and Facebook pages to get updates on her pregnancy. And if you’re as enamored with Charlotte’s story as we are, you can pay a visit to the aquarium Wednesday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. at 511 N. Main St. in Hendersonville, just about 30 minutes from downtown Asheville.

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