San Antonio Zoo® First Ever Shark Pup is a Virgin Hatch

Chuck Cureau |

San Antonio Zoo is celebrating its first shark hatch in the 103-year zoo history. The whitespotted bamboo shark pup is a result of parthenogenesis, a phenomenon that occurs when an embryo develops and matures without fertilization by a male. Many animal species can undergo this process, including several species of sharks. This demonstrates how animals have the ability to adapt to various situations or a changing environment. Typically, parthenogenetic sharks perish before hatching or do not survive past a few days.

Since hatching on May 2, the shark pup has been thriving and shown considerable growth. The aquarium animal care team named her Colette; a French name meaning “victorious”.

“We are thrilled to have the first hatch of a shark at San Antonio Zoo and in such a rare way,” said Craig Pelke, Director of Ectotherms. “This occurrence is important for this near threatened species and further helps us understand how sharks work and survive. Colette is helping us fulfill our mission to love, engage with, act for, and protect wildlife.”

Whitespotted bamboo sharks are primarily a nocturnal species and are often found in shallow, tropical, coral reefs. These sharks are harmless to humans and can be found in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean regions from Madagascar to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan. 

Both Colette and mom are doing great. Guests can see them on exhibit in the Friedrich Aquarium.

About San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo®, operated by San Antonio Zoological Society, is a non-profit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo’s mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for, and protect animals and the places they live. The zoo welcomes more than a million visitors each year and is open year-round. San Antonio Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoological Association of America, and Humane Certified by American Humane.