A mutant species of all-female crayfish taking over the world is not the latest science fiction film but a real-life environmental thriller. A new study has found that marbled crayfish are multiplying rapidly and invading ecosystems across the world.
The ten-legged pests are descended from one single female with a mutation allowing it to reproduce without males.
These self-cloning ladies are found for sale in North America, despite a warning against keeping them as pets. Sales of the six-inch creature are already banned by the European Union. Click on the following two links to access the full story.
Born to a male and female slough crayfish, a species originally from Florida, the original marbled crayfish had an additional set of chromosomes – a mutation that made her distinct from her parents and allowed her to reproduce without having to mate.
Desperate pet owners dumped the extra crayfish in nearby lakes, becoming an invasive species in countries as far-flung as Madagascar, Japan, and across Europe. This prompted the European Union to issue “a total ban on the possession, trade, transport, production and release of these species in the wild” in 2014.