Invading army with crayfish clones?try to eat them

This story was originally Appear in protector and is climate desk cooperate.

Small, bluish-grey, and spotted, marbled crayfish are easy to overlook. Except that it will most likely be coming to a pond or river near you soon – if it isn’t already. In recent years, the all-female freshwater crustacean has become the focus of fascination among scientists because of its unique ability to clone itself and adapt rapidly to new environments among decapods including shrimp, crabs and lobsters, and the fact that it has spread exponentially.

The marbled crayfish was first recognized in 1995, when a biology student bought a bag of crayfish – known as “Texas crayfish” – from an American merchant at a pet fair in Frankfurt. Sold to him in the name.Because of their inexplicable reproduction rate, after starting to become a burden for the new owner, he distributed them to friends, who in turn dumped them in rivers, lakes, and toilets, from which they quickly spread throughout Germany, including the continent. most of Europe, and the most abundant islands Madagascar, with a unique but extremely fragile freshwater ecosystem.

Frank Lyko, professor of epigenetics at German University cancer Research Center (DKFZ), First Encountered Creatures, for short marble crab, he was amazed at their ability to clonally propagate from a single cell, such as a cancer tumor, and saw them as an ideal model for research.

“All marbled crayfish have the same genome,” he said in a video call from his Heidelberg office. “But they’re also able to adapt to a variety of different environments and move very quickly, which makes them scientifically remarkable, similar to how a tumor adapts to its environment.”

Lecco led Ambitious genomic research This established the extraordinary fact that all marble crayfish descended from a single basal female. They reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis. In 2015, he named the all-female crustacean Crawfish.

During his research, Lyko recalled driving with his students to a lake about a 15-minute drive from his lab. Wearing flashlights and waders, standing ankle-deep, “we waited until it was dark, and all of a sudden they showed up by the hundreds,” he said. “We grabbed them from behind with a hand net and put them in the bucket. It was so exciting. After a while, we started trying to eat them and found them delicious.”

“The more we eat, the better”

exist Germany, where marbled crayfish invade lakes and rivers, authorities have taken strict measures against them.

Klaus Hidde, a retired bank clerk turned amateur fisherman, was last year commissioned by Berlin’s Senate environment department to assemble a small fisherman found in two lakes on Berlin’s western edge. Lobster sets traps. Not only are crayfish at risk of killing native species, “but they can also carry what’s called the crayfish plague,” he said, referring to a fungal disease that has more or less destroyed the once highly successful European crayfish Lobster market 150 years ago.

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