Just 25 years ago these marbled crayfish didn’t even exist. They are multiplying in the millions leaving scientists scared and bewildered on what to do.
Carl Zimmer at The New York Times talked to scientists studying the all-female species popular for their massive size “simply did not exist” 25 years ago.
Because of their size and ability to reproduce rapidly, the marbled crayfish became popular with aquarium owners and were able to spread around the globe.
“As marmorkrebs became more popular, owners grew increasingly puzzled. The crayfish seemed to be laying eggs without mating,” Zimmer writes.
Scientists found that a mutation in the crayfish allowed them to be an all-female species and to clone themselves.
“There are a lot of clear advantages to being a clone,” Zimmer writes. “Marbled crayfish produce nothing but fertile offspring, allowing their populations to explode.”
People on Twitter were shocked at this revelation.