I, for one, welcome our mutant crayfish overlords.
February 6, 2018 9:21 AM   Subscribe

The marbled crayfish or marmokrebs evolved from the slough crayfish 25 years ago in someone's aquarium in Germany. A recently identified mutation caused it to carry three sets of chromosomes in its eggs, which allows the large, attractive mudbug to clone itself — which it does in great numbers across Europe and Africa, threatening local species and potentially disrupting ecosystems.
posted by me3dia (24 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
The NYT article notes the big problem with clones:
If a pathogen evolves a way to attack one clone, its strategy will succeed on every clone. Sexually reproducing species mix their genes together into new combinations, increasing their odds of developing a defense.
See the fate of bananas, specifically the Gros Michel in the past, and now the Cavendish. 100,000 years seems like a very long time for a cloned species that has expanded its terrain so rapidly. Perhaps a new crayfish plague will develop.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:53 AM on February 6


" the future is female "
posted by hortense at 10:00 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


THIS IS THE FUTURE OTTERS WANT

lots of tasty crayfish
posted by The otter lady at 10:15 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


Do you want X-Men, because this is how you get X-Men. Well, X-Women as it were.
posted by misterpatrick at 10:15 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Perhaps their evolutionary strength lies in their marmo-citric acid cycle.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:17 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


It's about time the headcrabs showed up.
posted by loquacious at 10:25 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


But will they etoufee??
posted by dudemanlives at 10:50 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


I see you went for a Simpsons reference for the title of the FPP. I would have gone with something tribble-related, myself, but chacun á son goat.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:56 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I wish Octavia Butler was alive to see this.
posted by flipmodemedian at 10:57 AM on February 6


Do you want X-Men, because this is how you get X-Men. Well, X-Women as it were.

Like I said on Twitter, if this new breed isn't the Astacoidea Madroxis then what are taxonomies even for?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:59 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I am not seeing anything about how they taste, what gives?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 11:16 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]


I'm with you, Stonestock Relentless. The attack vector on this invasive species is garlic butter, if it were up to me(*)

(*) I can probably eat no more than 25% of them by myself guys, tuck in.
posted by Quindar Beep at 11:53 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


I see you went for a Simpsons reference for the title of the FPP. I would have gone with something tribble-related, myself, but chacun á son goat.

If they'd been furry, I would have too.
posted by me3dia at 11:57 AM on February 6


*Fry squinting* yeah...garlic butter is for something else. Tony Chachere's crawfish boil is where it's at! (Add the 1/2 corn on the cobs and new potatoes first so they get seasoned too, and a bunch of lemons cut in half)
posted by sexyrobot at 12:09 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


overladies, surely.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:14 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


If they'd been furry, I would have too.

I was thinking of McCoy's line, "The nearest thing I can figure out is they're born pregnant, which seems to be quite a time saver."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:22 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's uh, crayfish-kabobs, crayfish creole, crayfish gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple crayfish, lemon crayfish, coconut crayfish, pepper crayfish, crayfish soup, crayfish stew, crayfish salad, crayfish and potatoes, crayfish burger, crayfish sandwich... Oops. They all died. Nevermind.
posted by Splunge at 12:41 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Crawdaddies & crawmommies? Oh let's call the whole thing off.
posted by artdrectr at 4:02 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


chacun á son goat

I was wondering whether the aquarist suffered from gout.
posted by jamjam at 4:16 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I was joking about the gout of course, but not about the implied role for colchicine, and the article itself, by a slight variant in phrasing from the FPP: imputing the origin to the "aquarium trade" rather than "someone's aquarium", makes it a little easier to imagine a plausible creation story.

Some commercial enterprise was trying to produce more desirable aquarium plants by treating existing plants with colchicine to make them polyploid -- a standard plant breeders trick -- and ended up producing at least one polyploid crayfish egg instead (or as well).

Which would make all this a very nice cautionary tale for our CRISPRier time.
posted by jamjam at 5:04 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


About 15 years ago I was getting my hair cut and the stylist told me that she had a crayfish as a pet. She was scared of it, because she had her apartment sprayed for bugs and shortly after the spraying her crayfish developed the ability to leap herculean heights. He was always leaping out of his tank and startling her cat.
I have been wary of crayfish ever since.
posted by Stonkle at 7:00 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I have been wary of crayfish ever since.

Get a larger/braver cat than the one she had.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:44 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


That's awesome, just 25 years ago! Is it likely that the history of life is dotted with similar bursts of wildly successful, short-lived clone species?
posted by lucidium at 2:43 PM on February 9


About 15 years ago I was getting my hair cut and the stylist told me that she had a crayfish as a pet.

I wish I could know how consciously aware your stylist was of the resemblance between a crayfish with its big claw in a glass tank and a stylist with scissors in her hand in a glass and mirrors salon.
posted by jamjam at 12:31 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]


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