Wednesday, January 31, 2007


A Komodo dragon* in a UK zoo recently laid and hatched 5 eggs, even though she's never been exposed to males of her species. DNA tests confirmed that the adult female provided all the genes of the hatchlings. While parthenogenesis has been observed frequently in other lizards, this only the second documented occurrence in Komodo dragons. The first was in London Zoo in April of last year.

Thanks to Megan for pointing this out.

* Komodo dragons are very large (up to 3 m long) monitor lizards---indeed, the largest extant lizards on Earth---native to a few small islands in central Indonesia. Komodos harbor multiple strains of virulent bacteria in their saliva, which the dragons use to poison their prey.

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