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This Mutant Crayfish Clones Itself, And It’s Taking Over Europe

Just when we think we’ve seen it all, our planet reveals newer species that continue to intrigue us. A recent study presented a mutant crayfish that The New York Times is calling “one of the most remarkable species known to science.” The marbled crayfish all share the same gender, female, however, they’re reproducing and cloning on their own, and they are now taking over Europe.

Originating from a single female held in a German aquarium, it was born with the ability to reproduce without the need of its eggs being fertilized by a male. What’s astonishing is that each egg laid by this species is an exact clone of its mother. Able to reproduce rapidly, they have become out of control ever since they emerged in the wild just 25 years ago.

The mutant crayfish has established their populations in freshwater ecosystems worldwide, from Ukraine to Japan, and even Madagascar. Scientists who have investigated this species warn on the effect they can potentially have on local wildlife, agriculture, and ecosystems, as they compete with others for their resources. A study conducted by De Gruyter, a scholarly publication, documents the spread of the crayfish over the Czech Republic as “the potentially most dangerous non-indigenous crayfish species spreading in European countries and elsewhere.”

This particular species did not exist anywhere prior to 1995 and is said to be traced back to two slough crayfish that were imported from Florida to Germany, where they began their rapid reproduction and have since been multiplying exponentially all over the globe.

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