’60’s grass not green
could put you out to pasture
and/or make you smile
a snake in the grass
discovers she’s all she needs
“Virgin Birth” Seen in Wild Snakes, Even When Males Are Available
Who needs males? Sexless reproduction might be surprisingly common.”
(I’m not posting the picture from the article cuz snakes give me the “willies” . . . So if you want to see the Mama and baby and the entire article click here. Really interesting even though it’s about – shudder, cringe – snakes.)
by Ker Than for National Geographic News
“Virgin birth” among animals may not be a rare, last-resort, save-the-species stopgap after all.
For the first time, animal mothers, specifically pit vipers, have been discovered spawning fatherless offspring in the wild. More to the point, the snakes did so even when perfectly good males were around.
Until now its been considered an evolutionary novelty, albeit one that made a sort of sense—a way for a bloodline to continue in the absence of suitable father.”
“You’re Safe for Now, Men”
“A virgin birth occurs when a polar body—a cell produced along with the egg—essentially functions like a sperm and “fertilizes” the egg.
As a result, the DNA of a virgin-birth offspring, or “parthenogen,” doesn’t perfectly match that of its parent—the offspring is a sort of half clone.
So far, parthenogenesis has only been observed among sharks, reptiles, and birds (which are closely related to reptiles). Mammals aren’t thought to be capable of parthenogenesis, because their reproduction requires copies of genes from both parents.
“We’ll leave that to the snakes, birds, and sharks.”