50 species of lizard and one species of snake reproduce through parthenogenesis (that’s the fancy word for producing offspring as a female without having sex).
Whiptails are stimulation ovulators. That is to say, they can’t ovulate without having sex.
So not only do they are give birth through immaculate conception, they’re ALL LESBIANS.
There are two kinds of parthenogenesis seen in reptiles. That used by whiptails and the other all female species is true cloning – the egg contains the female’s full genetic material).
Other species including komodo dragons use another form of parthenogenesis where they actually fertilize themselves, with a haploid polar body used instead of a sperm. Because of the way reptile sex chromosomes work, this form of parthenogenesis can produce males as well as females – however, the females produced have weird sex chromosomes and can only lay other females. It’s used as a backup reproductive strategy if they can’t find a mate. This works because in reptiles, unlike mammals, its the males that have two sex chromosomes the same (ZZ) and the females different (ZW). Females produced by parthenogenesis are WW – and that’s what happened to the whiptails. They lost the Z chromosome and now are all WWs.
Reptiles are fascinating.
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