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Charlotte, pregnant stingray that made international headlines, dies in Hendersonville

Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO

Charlotte the stingray who made headlines for her pregnancy died, according to an announcement by the Team ECCO aquarium.

"We are sad to announce, after continuing treatment with her medical care team and specialist, our ray Charlotte passed away today," a statement posted to Facebook said. "We are continuing to work with her medical care team and research specialist."

Charlotte first made headlines in February when the Hendersonville nonprofit ocean education center announced that the California round stingray had become pregnant without a male in the tank. The process was believed to be parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction where an egg develops without being fertilized by sperm.

The average gestational period for stingrays is three to four months. When Charlotte exceeded the typical period, speculation grew.

Aquarium founder and director Brenda Ramer and members of the Team ECCO staff provided updates in weekly online videos.

On May 30, Team ECCO posted an update about Charlotte's condition: "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."

According to the June statement, the aquarium will remain temporarily closed.

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