Our Doom Is Upon Us

Male crawdads are obsolete. Female crawmoms are taking over the world.

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

Frank Lyko, a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center, studies the six-inch-long marbled crayfish. Finding specimens is easy: Dr. Lyko can buy the crayfish at pet stores in Germany, or he can head with colleagues to a nearby lake.

Wait till dark, switch on head lamps, and wander into the shallows. The marbled crayfish will emerge from hiding and begin swarming around your ankles.

“It’s extremely impressive,” said Dr. Lyko. “Three of us once caught 150 animals within one hour, just with our hands.”

Over the past five years, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues have sequenced the genomes of marbled crayfish. In a study published on Monday, the researchers demonstrate that the marble crayfish, while common, is one of the most remarkable species known to science.

Before about 25 years ago, the species simply did not exist. A single drastic mutation in a single crayfish produced the marbled crayfish in an instant.

The mutation made it possible for the creature to clone itself, and now it has spread across much of Europe and gained a toehold on other continents. In Madagascar, where it arrived about 2007, it now numbers in the millions and threatens native crayfish.

“We may never have caught the genome of a species so soon after it became a species,” said Zen Faulkes, a biologist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, who was not involved in the new study.

The marbled crayfish became popular among German aquarium hobbyists in the late 1990s. The earliest report of the creature comes from a hobbyist who told Dr. Lyko he bought what were described to him as “Texas crayfish” in 1995.

The hobbyist — whom Dr. Lyko declined to identify — was struck by the large size of the crayfish and its enormous batches of eggs. A single marbled crayfish can produce hundreds of eggs at a time.

Soon the hobbyist was giving away the crayfish to his friends. And not long afterward, so-called marmorkrebs were showing up in pet stores in Germany and beyond.

As marmorkrebs became more popular, owners grew increasingly puzzled. The crayfish seemed to be laying eggs without mating. The progeny were all female, and each one grew up ready to reproduce.

In 2003, scientists confirmed that the marbled crayfish were indeed making clones of themselves. They sequenced small bits of DNA from the animals, which bore a striking similarity to a group of crayfish species called Procambarus, native to North America and Central America.

Ten years later, Dr. Lyko and his colleagues set out to determine the entire genome of the marbled crayfish. By then, it was no longer just an aquarium oddity.

For nearly two decades, marbled crayfish have been multiplying like Tribbles on the legendary “Star Trek” episode. “People would start out with a single animal, and a year later they would have a couple hundred,” said Dr. Lyko.

Many owners apparently drove to nearby lakes and dumped their marmorkrebs. And it turned out that the marbled crayfish didn’t need to be pampered to thrive. Marmorkrebs established growing populations in the wild, sometimes walking hundreds of yards to reach new lakes and streams. Feral populations started turning up in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Ukraine in Europe, and later in Japan and Madagascar.

Looks like our only hope is the Cajun Navy.

Are you looking at me?

About Myiq2xu

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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72 Responses to Our Doom Is Upon Us

  1. Somebody says:

    Hubby told me about this last night. Big crawfish, creepy

  2. Myiq2xu™ says:

  3. DeniseVB says:

    My kids loved playing in the creek with the crawdads (crayfish?) behind our house in North Carolina. We had a dozen dime store goldfish in the giant aquarium since we couldn’t seem to keep fancy tropicals alive. The cheap fish thrived. Until that day the boys added a couple of crawdads …. all seemed well, but the next morning ALL the goldfish were gone, except their heads floating at the top. Oh, the trauma. Released the fat happy crayfish back to the creek, tore down the tank, never again.

  4. Lulu says:

    Can they be eaten? Boiled, étouffée’ed, fried, etc. Where these crawfish are appearing I’m sure they could turn them into sausage too.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Yes, I saw the upside as a food source. As prolific as they are, could they be raised in Venezuela before they turn to cannibalism ? I know in the southeast, they’re just big roaches that live in the water 😉

  5. helenk3 says:


    where on earth did they get this guy from?

  6. Myiq2xu™ says:

    • Lulu says:

      If you have ever known a corgi this won’t surprise you all that much. How did such a short dog get up there on the pony’s back? I don’t see any stirrups. Does the horse lie down for his pal the corgi to get up there? Those two are up to something!

  7. DeniseVB says:

    Is there nobody in the GOP who’s going to challenge Pelosi? Good grief they can’t even get Dems to primary her. I’d even donate to a Dem! We offed a GOP leader in Virginia, so it’s doable, I tell ya! (see Dave Brat)


  8. Dora says:

    Why Wait?


    DREAMers Threaten To Leave The Country If Congress Doesn’t Reach A DACA Deal


  9. lateblum says:

    Okey Dokey… the Olympics are about to begin here. See y’all later …

    • DeniseVB says:

      Looking forward to the Opening Ceremonies tomorrow night. I always enjoy the great shows the host countries put on !

      • lateblum says:

        Team skating is on tonight. Sadly the dynamic duo or Tara (Lipinsky) and Johnny (Weir) are talking and talking and talking. I want to stuff socks in their mouths. Double sadly, something (not good) happened to my cable connection and I was on the phone with comcast 40 minutes. I still don’t know how I lost the connection. But it’s back now, and freestyle skiing is on. Very exciting!

  10. helenk3 says:


    this is something to watch for in any local elections now. soros funding

  11. DeniseVB says:

    Speaking of Doom, didn’t Musk say his car would last a billion years in space? Not so fast,


  12. Myiq2xu™ says:

    Apparently protecting consumers is expensive.

  13. Propertius says:


    With claws.

    We really *are* doomed.

  14. lyn says:

    File this under it’s OK when we do it.

  15. Dora says:

  16. helenk3 says:

    rough language but awesome speech. It will not be forgotten in Philly


  17. Myiq2xu™ says:

  18. Myiq2xu™ says:

  19. Venus E. Lee says:

    I’m sexually aroused by Jordan Peterson

  20. Myiq2xu™ says:

  21. Myiq2xu™ says:

  22. Myiq2xu™ says:

  23. Island Girl says:

    Boo Hoo no government, better figure it out before Military payday.

  24. Myiq2xu™ says:

Comments are closed.