An eight-year old Komodo dragon named Flora gave birth to five little bundles of joy
today in Manchester, England. Why is this news? Because Flora is a virgin! That’s right, Flora has not been hanging out with a male Komodo dragon, yet she now has babies.
Reptile species have been documented to reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis
(I am not going to get into exactly how that works because frankly, I don’t want to know), but this is only the second time asexual reproduction has been documented in Komodo dragons. Another Komodo dragon also gave birth through parthenogenesis in a London Zoo earlier this year. Female dragons have been known to lay unfertilized eggs without the aid of a male. Flora’s case is unique in that her eggs had apparently been fertilized, leading to the birth of five tiny black and yellow baby dragons.
This is an important breakthrough in the field of captive breeding. Komodo dragons are the largest lizard species in the world, and are found exclusively in Indonesia. There are only 4,000 Komodo dragons left in the wild, and keeping them in captivity is difficult because they are susceptible to infection and parasitic disease. The ability for these dragons to breed in captivity, either the “normal” way or all on their own, might help ensure the survival of this remarkable animal.
The most important thing to take note here is that Flora clearly don’t need no man. I like her style.