Charlotte the pregnant stingray

'Unexpected Medical Development' About Charlotte The Stingray Revealed

Home / Entertainment / 'Unexpected Medical Development' About Charlotte The Stingray Revealed

By Melanie VanDerveer on May 31, 2024 at 1:45 PM EDT

After months of excitement, questions, speculation, and doubt, Team ECCO finally shared an update about Charlotte the stingray that clears much of that up.

What first started as rumors of a possible shark-ray baby was then determined to be false and actually a parthenogenesis pregnancy. And now months later, it appears that everyone was on baby watch for nothing.

Team ECCO revealed on Instagram that Charlotte the stingray "has developed a rare reproductive disease." While they didn't say it outright, it appears that Charlotte is NOT pregnant.

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No More Baby Watch For Charlotte The Stingray Fans!

Charlotte the Stingray
TikTok | Team ECCO

On Thursday, Team ECCO finally shared an update that explains more of the story on why Charlotte hasn't given birth yet.

"We regret the delay of updates regarding Charlotte. This time was necessary to gather data and analyze lab and testing results," they wrote on Instagram. "These reports were shared with our care team. The reports show that Charlotte has developed a rare reproductive disease that has negatively impacted her reproductive system. The findings are truly a sad and unexpected medical development."

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They also said they are working with specialists and veterinarians to "better understand this disease and the treatment options for Charlotte." Research of this disease was said to be limited, so the aquarium is hoping that her case and treatment will "positively contribute to science and be of benefit to other rays in the future."

"We sincerely appreciate the incredible outpouring of love and support for Charlotte," they continued. "Please respect Charlotte and her care team as we navigate this unexpected news and work to determine the best part forward."

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Team ECCO Turned Off The Option To Comment On Their Instagram Update

While no one is able to comment on the shocking, or maybe not so surprising update, there has been a lot of commenting on other posts wondering when the aquarium will tell everyone what's really going on.

Three weeks ago, a follower asked, "So what's going on? Was she really pregnant? Did she die?"

Another person shared, "Why has a proper vet not evaluated Charlotte and why are you continuing to ignore help from the vet community? This is going on longer than normal and you’re willfully putting her at risk. She should be receiving the best care possible; why aren’t you accepting help from trained medical professionals?"

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And while no one can comment on the Instagram announcement shared by Team ECCO, TikTokers have created their own videos about the situation to keep the conversation going strong.

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A Marine Biologist Recently Chimed In On Charlotte The Stingray's Condition On TikTok

TikTok content creator Stephanie Rzonca, who goes by Spellbound Stitchery on the app, recently spoke to a marine biologist named Larry to get more insight into what could be happening with Charlotte.

Through the multi-video series, Larry shared his thoughts on Charlotte's pregnancy or lack thereof.

When Larry first heard about Charlotte through a press release from Team ECCO that claimed the stingray was pregnant with a shark's baby, he said that raised a "huge red flag."

"That really is a huge red flag for a biologist or anyone with training, it's sort of the equivalent of someone saying your cat and dog are having kittens together. Just not really a rational thing to say," he said. "There were some other things in there. I believe at that time a mention of parthenogenesis, which is a phenomenon sometimes referred to as self-fertilization. It's not exactly cloning, but it is a female producing an offspring with no male input."

Larry said that while parthenogenesis has been seen in a "number of sharks and rays," it has not been observed in the species that Charlotte is a part of, the California round rays.

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There's Been A Lot Of 'Misinformation And Misrepresentation' Involved

In another video in the series, Rzonca and Larry talked about the "misinformation" being shared by Team ECCO about Charlotte's condition.

"One of the things you'll see over and over in this story, it's not new but I think it might be educational for people, is so early on there was a discussion of parthenogenesis, and they went to a scientist who described the process of parthenogenesis. Never said this is what's happening with Charlotte. Just said, it is possible for sharks and rays to go through parthenogenesis," Larry explained.

"You will not find a scientist saying, at least on the record, I even looked back at this, saying Charlotte is going through parthenogenesis."

Larry also said that messages were being misconstrued in the media through a snowball effect, adding to the confusion of the situation.

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Stephanie Rzonca Shared An Update After Team ECCO's Instagram Announcement About Charlotte

Charlotte the stingray
TikTok | Team ECCO

Rzonca shared the update that Team ECCO gave with the caption, "WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Marine Biologists" and many chimed in on the conversation in the comment section.

One person commented that Team ECCO also turned off commenting on their Facebook post. And another said this wasn't unexpected.

"Well. Well. Well. The update we were all expecting," one person wrote, to which Rzonca replied, "The real question is, how long would the pretense have gone on if it hadn’t been for public pressure and the media beginning to raise questions?"

Another viewer shared, "I knew it was tumors. I had a feeling they were just doing it for publicity." Many others have shared a similar sentiment.

One other person pointed out, "Like I’ve heard they’ve deleted comments bringing this up, so there’s no way they didn’t know this was more likely than sharks in a stingray."

Were you on baby watch and feel duped? Email me at to share your thoughts and feelings on this unfortunate months-long situation.

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