LONDON Flora, a Komodo dragon who has never
mated or even mixed with a male, is the proud mother and father
of five baby dragons, scientists said on Wednesday.
Both Flora and her babies, which measured 40-45 cm (15-18
inches) and weighed up to 125 grams (4.4 ounces) when they were
hatched at the Chester Zoo are doing fine.
Two fertilised eggs are still in an incubator.
"Flora is oblivious to the excitement she has caused but we
are delighted to say she is now a mum and dad," said Kevin
Buley a curator at the zoo. "When the first of the babies
hatched, we didn't know whether to make her a cup of tea or
pass her the cigars..."
Scientists announced in December in the journal Nature that
Flora had fertilised the eggs herself, without any male help,
in a process culminating in parthenogenesis or virgin birth.
Other lizards do this, but Buley and his team said it was
the first time it has been shown that Komodo dragons, the
world's largest lizards, can also accomplish it.
The baby dragons, all males, are being cared for in a
special area of the zoo and feasting on a diet of crickets and
"We haven't made a decision on names yet -- as Komodo
dragons can live for over 40 years, we want to get the names
just right," Buley added.